I’ve decided that this post needs to be in Katy Sparks, rather than Everyday Sparks, where I usually place my reviews. This is for a couple of reasons;

  1. This is not really a properly structured review. It’s more my rambling about my thoughts and feelings regarding this book
  2. It’s so important to me that it’s become a part of me. You know when you read a book, and it makes you feel so understood that you simultaneously want everyone to read it and hide it so that only you ever read it? It’s one of those kinds of books, and so I think it’s more suited to the Katy Sparks section.

For those of you who don’t know, The Outsiders is a classic novel, written in 1967, by a sixteen year old S.E. Hinton. It’s the story of Ponyboy, a greaser, and his friends and their long time feud with the Socs, the “rich kids, the West Side Socs.”

According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and Socs. A Soc (short for “social”) has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he’s always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of Socs for the sake of his fellow greasers–until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a Soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy’s skin, causing his bifurcated world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a Soc or a greaser.
(Synopsis from Goodreads)

I first heard about this book through reading another book. Most of you have probably heard of Rainbow Rowell’s YA novel, Fangirl, during which there is a rather romantic scene where Cath reads The Outsiders to Levi. It caught my attention, being one of my favourite scenes in the book, and because Cath mentions the famous quote “Stay gold Ponyboy.”

As someone who had never heard of The Outsiders, had never seen the film or known anyone who had read, it struck me as a really odd famous quote, and made me more desperate to read it.

So on my TBR list it went, but I had more pressing books to attend to (namely getting my hands on all the other Rainbow Rowell books I could find), so I didn’t really think about it for a while.

Then, in the space of a day, I found out that S.E. Hinton was only 16 when she had written majority of the book, that Rob Lowe was in the movie adaptation and had a conversation with someone I’d basically call my second mum, where she told me it was her favourite book when she was my age.

It seemed like all the signs were pointing towards me reading this book and then about a week later, on Christmas morning, what should be under my tree but a copy of The Outsiders?

I started it and was disappointed to find I struggled to begin the book. It seemed stunted and I’m not usually a huge fan of books written in first person with the narrators accent (which this is). It took me a month of reading a page or two here or there to get to the part of the book where suddenly I didn’t want to put it down.

Johnny and Ponyboy run into a burning church.

I wasn’t all that bothered about Johnny killing the Soc. It was on the blurb of the book – I expected it to happen. So when it did, I wasn’t swept up by the action. If anything, I was just annoyed. It happens so early on that I was sure the rest of the book would be the ramblings of Ponyboy in Windrixville, reading Gone With the Wind and waiting for Darry to come find him. I assumed it would be a book about facing consequences.

But after Ponyboy and Johnny run into that church, everything comes together. There are emotional family reunions (which are my favourite kinds of reunions) at the hospital and there’s an all out war between the Socs and the greasers and Johnny says “stay gold Ponyboy” and I cried. I ached, everything in me gripping onto that book as hard as I could. Because all of a sudden I realized I was attached to these characters and their lives and their stories in a way I hadn’t felt in a while.

And it was because they were so realistic. So raw and perfectly put and wonderfully worded by Ponyboy, who was, at the time, the same age as me, and everything made sense.

I love this book. Because it made me feel things. Because it still makes me feel things, still leaves me gripping the edge of my seat after reading it eight, nine, ten times. Because it has lessons that are still relevant nearly fifty years later. Because it was written by a girl with a big dream and it was read by another one just like her and inspired her to try harder. Because I can’t look at a sunset without thinking of the beautiful way they were used in the book – “I guess we weren’t so different. We saw the same sunset.”. Because it’s made me want to understand people more. Because it’s a story I can’t let go.

So I think this is the perfect book for me to write about in Katy Sparks. It’s so much a piece of me that I think it’s one of the best ways to describe me. Which means it’s the best way to show you guys a little bit more of me.


(This post was written before changes to my blog, when all posts where categorized by “sparks”. Any and all references to Katy/Everyday/Travelling/Life Sparks or Sparkszine are as a result of this)


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