Wednesday, April 17, 2013


I did see the movie, but I am actually referring to the book by S.E. Hinton.  My theme is Passions, Phases, and/or Life Lessons.  As I begin with The Outsiders, I am not precisely certain where this book falls.  This book was MONUMENTAL in my life.  I read it for the first time when I was in junior high school.  It stands out for me because, even though I was an avid reader at the time, it was the first book that hit me right where I lived.

Many of the themes of that book were being played out in my own school, minus the knives and rumbles.  There was a huge socioeconomic disparity among the kids that went to my junior high school.  So, while I wasn't engaging in actual war, it sure felt like it every day for three years.

The characters of Ponyboy, Johnny, Sodapop, Dallas, and even Darry were all people that I could relate to very well.  In fact, I understood them better than most of the crazy people at my school.  Ponyboy didn't have a very good grasp of anything going on until after the event had passed (most of the time).  That was a feeling with which I was very familiar.  Johnny understood things all too well, and it was heartbreaking.  Dallas was the first antihero I ever fell in love with on the written page.  He loved so much that he pushed people away.  Soda was that funny guy who I wished I could be at school.  That person often is able to avoid bullies and other uncomfortable people simply by being so darn happy all of the time.  And Darry, by this time, was a person weighted down by responsibility and burden.  He felt heavy all of the time.  I was well acquainted with the feeling.  Life was very hard.  Even I knew that it shouldn't be this hard at twelve and thirteen.  A person shouldn't feel like they are walking into the Gates of Hell every morning.

The Outsiders was like a message in a bottle sent through time and space saying, "You are not the only one."  I read that and realized that other people have felt this horrible feeling.  Other people go through this insanity.  This emotional brutality hasn't been visited on me and me alone.  Some people get what I'm getting and MORE.  This book is loosely based on a True Story.  This might be the worst time of my life, but S.E. Hinton threw me a lifeline.  How did she know I was sending out an S.O.S.?


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Rating: I was Passionate about this book when I read it.  However, I learned Life Lessons from it, too.  You don't have to accept any brand that people want to put on you.  You only become hard if you allow yourself to become hard.  Not letting people in is a choice.  It's a lot easier to go through life with a smile than a frown.  Life doesn't have to be this burden unless you choose to take that on.  I am sure that I learned even more than that, but that is what comes to mind right now...

Did you read THE OUTSIDERS or another book in your youth that hit you where you lived?   Did you feel that you were the only one until someone reached threw time and space and threw you that lifeline letting you know that you weren't alone?  Did that knowledge make your experience more bearable?


  1. I never read the Outsiders, only saw the movie. I don't remember what book filled that roll for me. It's a shame, I wish I could.

  2. I remember this book well, growing up, but didn't really identify with the characters. It was a great story, though.

    Great Police song, as well! :)

  3. Robin
    I never heard of it, nor read the book or saw the movie.
    But I'm happy that in your youth, you found a source you could relate to.

  4. Ya know, I'm probably in the minority, but I've never read the book, nor have I seen the movie. BUT, I've heard/read so much about it over the years that I almost feel like I experienced it first hand. Also, like you, I've heard/read a "plethora" (lol) of stories about what a life changing experience it was for people. I think there's a little piece of each of the characters in all of us. Even those kids who came across like they totally had their shizzle together. I don't think there's a person on this planet, who hasn't been tormented by some level of teenage (or tweenage) angst. Great post, Rob. :~) And as always, a perfect choice of video, too. XOXO

  5. LD ~ The movie was great IF you never read the book!

    Mark ~ I am glad that you didn't have this experience. Honestly it was NOT fun. It was a great book.

    Manzanita ~ Thank you. Since I don't believe in happenstance, I think it was something like a Message In A Bottle.

    Mary ~ That is dead on true. When I connected as an adult with a whole bunch of people from my junior high that I wasn't really friends with back in the day... I was shocked to discover how many of THEM were bullied and tormented just like ME. There were a few people that were spreading the misery around while so many suffered. Amazing that we all did it in SILENCE.

  6. Great post Robin. I think you are spot-on about the book. It made me realize that I wasn't the only one struggling to make sense of things. It made me realize that some people had to deal with a whole lot more than I did. It gave me some perspective at a young age, and that's a powerful thing. It's cool to think about how many young people Hinton touched with this book.

  7. I loved SE Hinton's books as well, although I was a little old by the time the movie came out and did not relate as much.

    Someone else who nailed the teen experience? John Hughes.

  8. I think The Outsiders affected a lot of people that way. The teenage years are so hard. And wow, Sting was so young!

  9. I never read it, but I have read many books that helped to mold my life. Those kids today who do not read will never know what their lives could have been like had they taken the time to learn from the experiences of others. They will always be the outsiders in society.

  10. I remember reading it, but confess I remember the movie better. I guess I do better with visuals.

  11. As I was waiting for the comment box to load, I caught a glance at your "N" post! Norma Jean! I did a HUGE report on her in high school. You're right... she did NOT commit suicide. There was no residue where it needed to be in order for it to be suicide (can't remember now... been too long since I studied it), and there were some mysterious needle marks that did not jive with the supposed ovedose of pills.

    Anyway... I loved the Outsiders when I first read it, too. Isn't it something how deeply books can affect us? I love your writing!! You are always so good. :)

    Dana at Waiter, drink please!

  12. Tim ~ Perspective is a powerful thing.

    DiscConnected ~ So funny. I started with him at "B."

    Carol ~ I think you are right. I read a lot of Outsiders posts for "O."

    JJ ~ Books are an excellent tool for experiencing without actually experiencing. I don't understand people who don't like to read.

    Alex ~ It is a book geared toward kids. Not saying you wouldn't enjoy reading it again, but you wouldn't experience it the same way as an adult.

    Dana ~ Thank You! Nice to have the opinion on the Marilyn Monroe "suicide" you did some research. I have done some reading here and there, which was enough to make me seriously suspect that suicide report filed by the police. And, yes, it is something how deeply books can affect us. This isn't the only time, just the FIRST.

  13. Great minds think alike!

    I read this book in middle school, and saw the movie soon thereafter. I was hooked. Me personally, I grew up in a rough neighborhood with some pretty bad kids. I see a lot of my own childhood in The Outsiders.

  14. Because I was reading stuff that was not appropriate for my age as I searched for material that was not 'too easy', I read this book in the 2nd grade! Believe it or not, it still meant a whole lot for me. As with most of what I was reading, nobody realized that I had a hold of stuff that I probably shouldn't have. But I had heard my mother talk a lot about how The Outsiders was one of the few books that she ever finished- she is severely dyslexic- and so I thought it must be pretty good. As you well know, it is.
    I couldn't help but wonder why my mother who I knew had read and enjoyed this book could still be acting out so much of what was wrong and sad within the story. I also had good family friends that I grew up with that I just knew would end up like the characters in the book, and they did.
    It is an intriguing and engaging story whether you look at it as a warning or as a rite of passage that must be survived. I haven't thought about The Outsiders in so long and since it is one of the things that reminds me of something my mother and I both enjoyed and could agree on, even if we saw it in different ways, I am happy that you have reminded me of it.
    I should read The Outsiders again...
    The books that I can think of right now that I know hit where I lived is J.D. Salinger's Catcher In The Rye

  15. I never read the book, but I saw the movie -duh! LOVED it for so many different reasons. The Outsiders was one of the first movies I got to see without a chaperone aka the parentals. It was also where I fell in love with Ralph Macchio and Matt Dillon. -You know, important stuff like that. :)

  16. Jasmine ~ Wow. I can't imagine relating to that story in the second grade. You must have been VERY MATURE for your age. That kinda blows my mind. I loved Catcher In The Rye. The line from that book that sticks with me is the one where he says, "You're about as sensitive as a toilet seat." hahahaha. That was another Journey book. Love those.

    Yvonne ~ I am not sure that reading the book NOW would affect you the same was as it would have when you were a youth, but it is still an excellent read. If you loved the movie, the book is Amazing.


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