Monday, February 24, 2020

*Review* The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Published: 1967
Pages: 192

The Outsiders is about two weeks in the life of a 14-year-old boy. The novel tells the story of Ponyboy Curtis and his struggles with right and wrong in a society in which he believes that he is an outsider. 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.

This is a book that I'd been meaning to read for a while. I'd heard so many great things about it, and unfortunately, for me it just didn't live up to the hype. I know that one of the reasons so many people love the book is that they find it relatable, but I just didn't. 

I think a major part of the problem for me is that although I was a bit of an outcast in school, it wasn't anywhere near the level of Ponyboy and the greasers. In the whole scheme of things, my lifestyle was more in line with the Socs, even though I didn't fit in with the popular kids, but the book doesn't really show us things from the Soc perspective. But even if it did, I still don't think I'd have found the story all that relatable. 

I kept reading hoping that I'd hit a point where I'd start to relate to either the characters or at least the situations they found themselves in in some way, but I didn't. The complete disconnect for me is even making writing a review difficult. Ultimately, I just didn't get it, so for me, this book was a dud. 

I give it 2.47382 stars. - Katie 

Susan Eloise Hinton's career as an author began while she was still a student at Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Disturbed by the divisions among her schoolmates into two groups--the Greasers and the Socs--Hinton wrote The Outsiders, an honest, sometimes shocking novel told from the point of view of an orphaned 14-year-old Greaser named Ponyboy Curtis. Since her narrator was male, it was decided that Hinton use only her first initials so as not to put off boys who would not normally read books written by women. The Outsiders was published during Hinton's freshman year at the University of Tulsa, and was an immediate sensation.Today, with more than eight million copies in print, the book is the best-selling young adult novel of all time, and one of the most hauntingly powerful views into the thoughts and feelings of teenagers. The book was also made into a film, directed by Francis Ford Coppola and featuring such future stars as Emilio Estevez, Patrick Swayze, Matt Dillon, and Tom Cruise.Once published, The Outsiders gave her a lot of publicity and fame, and also a lot of pressure. S.E. Hinton was becoming known as "The Voice of the Youth" among other titles. This kind of pressure and publicity resulted in a three year long writer's block.Her boyfriend (and now, her husband), who had gotten sick of her being depressed all the time, eventually broke this block. He made her write two pages a day if she wanted to go anywhere. This eventually led to That Was Then, This Is Now.In the years since, Ms. Hinton has married and now has a teenaged son, Nick. She continues to write, with such smash successes as That Was Then, This Is Now, Rumble Fish and Tex, almost as well known as The Outsiders. She still lives in Tulsa with her husband and son, where she enjoys writing, riding horses, and taking courses at the university.In a wonderful tribute to Hinton's distinguished 30-year writing career, the American Library Association and School Library Journal bestowed upon her their first annual Margaret A. Edwards Award, which honors authors whose "book or books, over a period of time, have been accepted by young people as an authentic voice that continues to illuminate their experiences and emotions, giving insight into their lives."

Saturday, February 1, 2020

I'm Back! (Maybe)

At the beginning of the year last year, I made a post where I resolved to become more active in the book blogging community, basically trying to do a better job of seeking out and interacting with other book bloggers on their pages. It was a really thoughtful resolution. Then I basically disappeared, for pretty much the whole year. I have a handful of posts from last year, and most of them were drafted before the year actually started. A part of me knew that making a resolution about blogging was a bad idea (because who ever actually sticks to their resolutions, amiright?), but the optimist in me swore that it'd be fine because it was book related and I love books.

Now I really want to get back into my blogging, but I want to make some changes around here. While this blog will always have a primary book focus (again, I love books), I'm going to add some lifestyle posts so you can get to know the parts of me that aren't obsessed with books. We're going to act like I'm a well-rounded character and not a one-dimensional book nerd for a change. And that starts now.

Part of the reason I was radio silent in the last quarter of 2019 is I started a day job (and that is how I will always refer to it because I'm not giving my stalker any ammunition against me when she's already threatened retribution for imagined slights). It's in fast food, so nothing glamorous, but it allows me to contribute to the household finances more than I was working as just a proofreader (which I'm also still doing). After about two months on the job, I began training to become a manager, and not long after that, I was promoted to assistant manager. And I recently found out that where I'm going to go from here is a major topic of discussion between my GM and the owners (who own more than one store in the area), so it seems to me that I may be promoted to GM sooner rather than later, although potentially in a different store. It's all happened rather fast considering that I have no prior management experience and didn't work outside the home for eight years.

Another change that has happened because of the new job is that I've started wearing makeup again, not because I'm required to for work, but because I feel good about myself again and want to. In fact, I recently realized that the real reason I didn't wear makeup for years wasn't because I just didn't care what others think of me like I'd thought, but because I didn't really feel good about myself. I know this because I still don't really care what others think of me, but I want to wear makeup anyway, for me. I don't know what the "it" products are in this area though, so I'm currently subscribed to BoxyCharm and Ipsy so I can test out some new products and find things to use. I will be talking about some of those things around here too. One day I may even get up the nerve to go into Ulta and ask for some help and/or advice, but that day is not today.

A final change I intend to make around here is that I will no longer be reviewing the books that I proofread here. I will still spotlight them and give a star rating, but I won't be writing in depth reviews. It became quite clear last year that I don't always have the time to write those reviews right after finishing a book, and since most of my authors write series, I can't always keep exact events in specific books straight, so my reviews were becoming rather vague anyway to avoid any possible spoilers.

So that's where we're at. I'm hoping to be around here more regularly this year, and with a wider range of topics for discussion. I hope you'll stay with me for the ride. - Katie