Greetings, readers! My name is Sareeta Domingo, and I’m an author and fiction editor. It’s my great pleasure to be bringing you a Book of the Week, each week here on Morning Mari.
Today is a day of celebration for me, as it marks the publication of my second novel for younger readers, Love on the Main Stage! So, I thought my selection for Book of the Week this week should be one of my favourite novels for young people and older readers alike, and the book I first remember making me want to be a writer: The Outsiders by SE Hinton.
The Outsiders was first published way back in 1967, and it absolutely astounded and inspired me that Hinton was only 16 years of age when she wrote it. The book is a classic, impactful coming-of-age story narrated by the character of Ponyboy, a teenager whose semi-tough exterior hides a sensitive soul. He’s a member of a working-class gang, the Greasers, who are in a rivalry with wealthy gang The Socs (short for ‘Socials’). Raised by his older brothers, Ponyboy and the Greasers’ lives are thrown into turmoil after his ordinarily sweet-natured and gentle best friend Johnny kills a Soc in order to save Ponyboy’s life. A violent chain of events unfolds, which ultimately ends in tragedy.
The Outsiders’ narrative is enduringly compelling, and relentlessly emotional in its depiction of brotherhood and the bonds of friendship, as well as highlighting the difficulties faced by the working-class Greaser gang. Hinton perfectly captures Ponyboy’s voice, and utilises a clever device of ending the novel with the same line as it’s opening for reasons that become apparent at the book’s conclusion: When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home. The full-circle narrative really blew my mind as a young reader, and I’ll never forget being a young girl introduced to a world so outside of my own, but so utterly enthralling and impactful. The books we read when we’re young stick with us throughout our lives. That is why one of my personal favourites, The Outsiders by SE Hinton, is my Book of the Week this week.