Sunday, October 30, 2016
M. Night Shamalamadingdong's The Reviewening (Outsiders Project)
This is my review of The Outsiders by S.E Hinton. To start with, I'll tell you what I think makes a good book. The most important part of a great book is having characters that the reader cares about. I don't think there's a single named character in the entire book who we don't learn about, who we can't relate to on some level or another. Even Bob, whose only purpose was to get shanked in order to start the story, ended up becoming interesting. The next important part is having villains who are a little sympathetic. Nobody's totally evil, and that needs to be shown with the antagonists. Hinton did that one pretty well. The Socs turned out to not be all bad, like when Randy talked about Bob with Ponyboy. Another thing a good book should have is an interesting plot. I thought the plot was great. All the little pieces fit smoothly together, and all the conflicts are resolved by the end. Now let's get to my thoughts on the book in general. I like how everyone in the gang know each other really well and are always willing to back each other up. You can really tell that they've all been friends for years. I disagree with some things, though. I don't think that Dally died gallant. He couldn't take losing Johnny, so he let the cops shoot him under a dirty streetlamp. It was sad, it was shocking, and it was a fitting end, but it wasn't gallant. I didn't like the burning church scene. The whole thing just felt off, like it was just randomly added in there for the sake of moving the plot, which it was. I mean, it was written pretty well, but it just seemed like someone had taken a part of a different book by the same author, where the characters had the same names, and duct taped it inside The Outsiders. I just don't think it's the sort of thing that belongs in this kind of book. Now, I realize that you're shouting at your computer screen right now. "It was one of the most important parts of the whole book!" you wail. "It had a lot of great character development!" you scream. "Don't you care about a bunch of kids getting burned to death?" you wonder incredulously. Yes, I care about and agree with all of those things. I just don't like it because it doesn't belong. I don't think it fits in with the rest of the book. It's like watching Friday the 13th and having a break from the murders where Jason Voorhees wanders around Camp Crystal Lake playing Pokemon Go. It doesn't fit in with the rest, like a peacock hanging out with a murder of crows. You can really easily tell that it was added in there because Susan Hinton had no idea what to do with her story. Another thing that felt a little out of place was the rumble. The Outsiders was about how "things are rough all over" and how we're all really the same. A very important part of it was how Ponyboy didn't like fighting and killing, so a massive fight scene where Pony beats the crap out of people who he doesn't know feels a little odd. One thing I notice about the book is that the last chapters contrast a lot with the first. At the start, the Socs are evil villains, and people to be feared. They're a reason to be afraid of walking home alone. When Bob dies, you don't pity him. You're just glad that Johnny got some revenge. And Dally seems unlikable, someone who won't be very important and who you'll never care about. At the end, it's the Socs who run away from Ponyboy, and you can understand Bob and get seriously depressed by Dally's brutal death. Overall, I think the Outsiders is an incredibly great book, warts and all, and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a good read.