S. E. Hinton wrote her first book, The Outsiders, in 1967, when she was seventeen years old, and young-adult literature will never be the same. Ms. Hinton says she wrote the book because she couldn’t find any stories that portrayed teen-agers outside of the narrow world of the school. So she created another world, one with no parents or adult authority figures, a place where kids lived by their own rules. The result was one of the great best-sellers in the field of adolescent literature.
All four of the author’s novels are powerful, strikingly realistic portraits of modern kids trying to make it in a rough world.
Talking about some of her characters, Ms. Hinton says, “Many of them are loosely based on people I’ve known. For example, the real boy like Dallas Winston (The Outsiders) was shot and killed by the police for having a stolen car…. In all my characters there is always some aspect of myself. Ponyboy is the way I felt at fourteen. I’m not sure he is my favourite character, but he sure is the kids’ pick.”
The publication of The Outsiders enabled the author to attend the University of Tulsa, from which she graduated in 1970 with a major in education. The summer after her graduation she wrote That Was Then, This Is Now, and that fall she married a fellow student at the university. She and her husband, David, live in Tulsa.
The book in one sentence: Teenage brothers Tex and Mace, total opposites by nature, are trying to make ends meet in between growing up and living by themselves, when suddenly their negligent father makes another appearance and events lead to a confession of a dark secret that threatens the relationship of the brothers.
Who would you recommend it to: Boys. It’s a total lad lit more relevant than J. D Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, in my opinion.
Best bit: When Mace reveals to Tex that Tex insisted on telling Mace that he doesn’t hate him before Tex was operated on at the hospital for a gunshot wound. Ahh, you have to read it to get it.
Boring bits: None. I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of the book.
Verdict: I. Love. This. Book. Period.
Other S. E. Hinton’s books I’ve read: The Outsiders, Hawkes Harbor, Rumble Fish, That Was Then, This Is Now, Taming the Star Runner