40 - The Outsiders
Outsiders is a
coming-of-age novel written by a teenager, S. E. Hinton, and first published in
1967. An instant, surprise bestseller, today it remains a cult classic. Hinton
wrote it at age 15 as a sophomore at Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma
– describing the life of a bunch of downtrodden “Greasers” – patterned after
1960s Tulsa hard-working, cigarette-smoking, low-income kids, scorned by the
idle, bored, rich southside teens -- the Socs (“soshes”). I first read the book
in 1970 as a junior at Tulsa’s working class East Central High School. Although
we were sure the Greasers had been patterned after westside Webster High School
kids and not us – we, teens with nicknames such as Teddy Bear, Pistol and
Squirrel devoured the book, agreeing totally with the injustice of rich vs.
poor as Hinton described the tragic melodrama of Ponyboy, Two-Bit and Sodapop’s
struggle with life’s inequities. Francis Ford Coppola of The Godfather
fame came to Tulsa in 1983 to create the film adaptation – which has its own
cult status today, watched by high school English classes reading the book … as
they are inspired to tell their own stories just like Susan Eloise Hinton did
so successfully at their age.
~ Rob Kerby
Purchase "The Outsiders" here.