Friday, June 01, 2007
If you were asked to name an author of a classic young adult novel, who would you name?
Judy Blume might be the name that instantly comes to mind, especially if you are female.
Lois Duncan might be another. Or Lois Lowry. Cynthia Voigt. Paul Zindel or Walter Dean Myers. Chris Crutcher or Robert Cormier.
It's been 40 years since The Outsiders was published. Susan Eloise Hinton was a freshman at the University of Tulsa at the time (she began writing the bulk of it as a junior in high school). It has remained one of the bestselling young adult novels of all time (and one of the most challenged). It is a staple of many high school English literature classes.
The movie boosted and launched the careers of many young actors: Patrick Swayze (Darry), Tom Cruise (Steve), Rob Lowe (Sodapop), Matt Dillon (Dallas), Ralph Macchio (Johnny), Emilio Estevez (Two-Bit), Diane Lane (Cherry), and C. Thomas Howell (Ponyboy). If you're a child of the 80s, this may be where you first encountered the story.
(Want to feel old, children of the 80s? The movie came out in 1983. 24 years ago.)
So.....has it stood the test of time?
Violence and intimidation between the haves and have-nots, the need to belong to a group, death, parental neglect and indifference have not been erased in 40 years time. Check the conditions of your library's copies of The Outsiders. They aren't the ones with pristine covers and uncracked spines. Teens today may read them as part of their English literature classes, but they still respond to the themes, the action, the sorrow, and yes, the language that make up the story.
Has it been a while since you've read The Outsiders?
Pick it up again.
(It doesn't take that long to read it.)
What? You've never read The Outsiders?
Pick it up for the first time.