Hinton, S.E. The Outsiders. Speak, 2012.
image from: www.amazon.com
Don't tell my Upward Bound kids, but I think this is the novel for the summer. It celebrates 50 years, so I think it's worthy of study. Besides, this was one of the first YA novels (long before the term "YA" existed). Since we studied the first English novel last year, I think it's appropriate to study the first YA novel this year.
I have a history with this book...sort of...
When I was in high school, one of the 9th grade English teachers taught The Outsiders. My 9th grade English class read a different Hinton book, Tex. I still have my copy and remember a part where Tex is told some people stay and some people go. I knew at 14 I was leaving my hometown as soon as I graduated (I did move away to attend college and have never left that town. I was the only one of my running buddies that left home.). It's been many years since I was in 9th grade, and this book has been on my virtual pile. It wasn't until a couple of years ago when I heard Ally Carter speak about how Hinton influenced her to become a writer that I thought, "Man! I've really got to read that book!" Yes, by then, I'd seen the movie, but I know how books are usually better than the movie interpretation. Earlier this school year, I was hearing some buzz about this being the 50th year since publishing and made a note that this would be a Upward Bound summer novel possibility.
So a few weeks ago, I was trying to get an Ally Carter book read before hearing her speak at a conference when I decided that after Carter's book, I would FINALLY read this one.
I'll have to watch it again to see how close it follows the book, but I had movie images in my head while I read. I couldn't remember which character was which, but I do remember Patrick Swayze being the oldest brother.
As I read, I kept thinking about how teenagers today can still identify with Ponyboy and his gang (even if we don't use the Greaser or Socs terms)--we still separate ourselves. We still want to feel needed and loved and part of something. I think this will be my approach in teaching this book.
I like that there's very little cussing in this book. It's alluded to, but not printed out.