Nothing gold can stay, but The Outsiders hasn't sunk to grief just yet. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, S.E. Hinton talks about The Outsiders 50th anniversary, which comes with an all-new edition of the beloved title. Take this as an opportunity to re-read the classic. (Or, if you only remember the book from reading Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, take this as an opportunity to enjoy it for the first time!)
The Outsiders centers on Ponyboy Curtis and Johnny Cade: the youngest members of a gang of Greasers living in a Midwestern town. The Greasers are locked in a tit-for-tat battle with the affluent Socs. When five Socs attempt to drown Ponyboy in a park one night, timid Johnny comes to his friend's aid, accidentally stabbing one of the rich boys to death in the process. Fearing the death penalty and sure that no one will believe Johnny didn't mean to outright murder the Soc, Ponyboy and his friend get money and a gun from an older Greaser, and go on the lam.
Hinton was wrote her debut novel while she was still in high school. She tells Entertainment Weekly that she "received [her] publishing contract for The Outsiders on the day [she] graduated." Following a boom in the 1970s, Hinton has published less frequently as the years go on. Perhaps that's because, as she tells it, she "could never be that un-self-conscious again. As an adult I see many faults — but [The Outsiders'] faults are its virtues." Hinton's most recent book is a short-story collection, titled Some of Tim's Stories.
The Outsiders first hit store shelves on Apr. 24, 1967. The 1983 movie adaptation starred C. Thomas Howell and Ralph Macchio as Ponyboy and Johnny. Up-and-coming stars Matt Dillon, Patrick Swayze, Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, and Emilio Estevez rounded out the film's Greaser crew.
Regarding her novel's enduring popularity, Hinton says:
Teenagers still feel like I felt when I wrote the book, that adults have no idea what’s really going on. And even today, that concept of the “in crowd” and the “out crowd” is universal. The names of the groups may change, but kids still see their own lives in what happens to Ponyboy and his friends.
You can relive the magic of Hinton's best-known novel when The Outsiders 50th anniversary edition comes to a bookstore near you on Nov. 1.
Image: Zoetrope Studios