Book Review: The Outsiders

The Outsiders CoverBook: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton|Narrated by Jim Fyfe

Published June 2006|Originally Published 1967|Published by Listening Library

Audio Book|From the library|Run Time: 5 hours, 27 minutes

Series: No

Genre: YA/Classics

Goodreads|Barnes And Noble|Amazon|S.E. Hinton’s Website

Summary: According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for “social”) has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he’s always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers–until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy’s skin, causing his bifurcated world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a greaser.

The Outsiders is one of those books that never made it onto the required reading lists for school…but I’m pretty sure we watched the movie, because parts of it seemed really familiar when I was listening to it.

Honestly though?  It was okay.  I mean, it is a classic, and as far as YA goes, it’s pretty important.

Here’s what I liked: the relationships between all the greasers and how nobody’s what they seem.  I kind of liked the “them vs us” part of it, and that family isn’t necessarily made up of people you’re related to.  For something written by a teen, I was impressed by how well-written it was.  Not that things written by teen are automatically horribly-written or anything, but I think it being written by a teen is why it’s gone over so well.

But…I really couldn’t connect with it.  While I appreciated The Outsiders, I also just…feel sort of meh about it.   It was easy to listen to, but I’m trying to rack my brain for reasons why it’s just okay, and I’m coming up with nothing.  I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I just couldn’t get into it.

I sort of hate to say this, but there were several times when the book sounded like a 16-year-old girl wrote it.  She did describe everything really well, and I could picture everything so clearly!  And while it felt really realistic…there was also something unrealistic about it too.  I know absolutely nothing about the time in which the book was set or anything like that, but there were times when it was hard to believe that the characters really acted the way they did.

Hinton really brought things to life, and it definitely came through in the audio book.  Fyfe did a great job narrating, and brought the characters to life.  He also did a great job making all of the characters sound different- you knew who was who, and no one sounded similar.

Final Thoughts:

The Outsiders is a book I don’t really have strong feelings about.  It was just okay for me, and while I appreciate it as a classic and as a book written for teens in a time when there didn’t seem to be a lot of books for teens, I just couldn’t get into it.  There are things I liked but overall…it’s just not my cup of tea.  It’s still worth reading, though.  It gets 2 stars.

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