Sunday, 15 December 2013

The Outsiders

TITLE: The Outsiders

AUTHOR: S. E. Hinton
PAGES: 218
RATING: ★ (5/5)




It's Christmas! Does it feel like Christmas to you? I've put up my Christmas tree and I've bought myself a Christmas jumper yet I'm still not feeling especially Christmassy... hmm... perhaps I'm growing out of it. If you're looking for a Christmas read this year, then I'd like to recommend you A Christmas Carol by Dickens. I know it seems kind of obvious, but it's a classic, and it's one of those books that I find actually have a Christmas atmosphere to it. I read it when I was twelve and I'm sure everyone of all ages will love it just as much.

I started reading Lolita a couple of days ago and so far I'm really enjoying it. It's part of my Love Through The Ages course in college, so I'm sure I'll have it finished soon. I also managed to finish Othello again which I highly recommend, it's one of my favourite Shakespeare plays. But today I'm going to be reviewing a book I finished a few weeks back and I'm excited to talk about.

I'm not sure how I got through seventeen years of my life without reading this book, but at least I didn't make it eighteen. It was written in the twentieth century and became a teenage classic, about rebellion and growing up and friends and family. In this way, it sounds kind of cliche, and in some ways that's true. All of the cliches you read about nowadays were explored first in this novel, but at the same time there are dark turns in it which sets it apart from other teen books I've read.

It tells the story of the rivalry between Socs and Greasers. They're separated because of a large class divide, Socs are rich and clean, and Greasers wear hand-me-down clothes and long hair. Our protagonist is a guy called Ponyboy, and he's extremely likable. In fact, every character in it is likable, even the "bad" ones. I personally find it real hard to simply like characters, but this book was so perfectly written that I couldn't stop reading just because I wanted to know what happened to the characters.

The characters get mixed up in some gang business, which is expected, but I didn't expected to be so moved near the end of the novel. There were some really serious themes going on in it which meant I flew through the ending.

The book was written when the author was just seventeen years old, my age, and for this reason I think some parts of the narrative were a little undeveloped. However, the book is aimed at people my age and younger, meaning it would've been wrong to expect anything more sophisticated. But what was there got me hooked and will probably hook anyone else that reads it. The twelve-year-olds in my college are reading it at the moment, and my teacher has been saying that this novel has gotten a lot of them more excited about reading. It's a great novel because it's not necessarily aimed at one sex, one age, or with one genre in mind. It's a mix of everything.

I just can't help comparing it to The Catcher in the Rye. To be honest, I feel like this is Catcher for kids. It's a sort of younger version of it, though obviously not up to the same standard. I felt almost like at the end of The Outsiders, the character could have walked straight into Catcher and become Holden. I'd recommend this book to everyone, but I feel it will especially affect kids of about twelve or thirteen. It's a great book which can help people progress from children's literature into adult literature.

I'm not sure when I'll be updating around Christmas, but I'll have a lot of time off meaning I'll be doing a lot of reading. I've also asked for a lot of books as presents, and I'll be updating all of the titles that I receive!
I hope you all have a great Christmas, and a good New Year!

Rachel x

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