“Stay Gold, Ponyboy”

Confession: Up until last week, I’d never read S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders.  I know that it’s on practically every other high school summer reading list, but it never was on mine. I was too busy not reading Lord of the Flies and Sir Garwin and Jane Austen.

But awhile back on a road trip with Husband and Waffle, we listened to the Rob Lowe memoir Stories I Only Tell My Friends and of course he was in the movie adaptation and the way he talked about the book made me reconsider reading it. I’ll be honest. My initial reaction was It can’t be THAT good.

I was an idiot. It was glorious and brilliant. And hella intimidating. I mean, Hinton was only 15 when she started writing the novel, and did most of the work when she was sixteen and a junior in high school. When was 15 I was writing bad poetry and watching disaster flicks with my faux boyfriend during “the summer that nothing happened.” Hinton was 18 when the book was published. When was 18 I was driving into neighborhood signs and breaking curfew.

Her writing is mad impressive. I love that the book is dark and the closeness these guys have. And Hinton, while writing a gritty story, doesn’t swear. Her characters cuss, but offscreen. Where my characters would say ^*&^)!  and (*^%$O$% hers say “He used every swear word he knew.” And it works. (It was also published in 1967).

The point of all this is go read the damn book. You won’t regret it.

In the meantime, “stay gold.”

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