American Icons: The Outsiders
Friday, May 04, 2012
This is the underbelly of teen America.
Susan Eloise Hinton was a teenager when she wrote The Outsiders, the story of rival gangs in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She used the pen name “S.E.” so readers wouldn’t know she was a girl, and bought a Camaro with the earnings. “Some of [the novel’s] faults, like its over-the-top emotions and drama, are what make it so popular because that’s the way kids really feel,” she says. “You’ve got to have the hormones going before you really appreciate that book.”
Librarian Elizabeth Bird says the novel’s unresolved class struggle resonates as powerfully as ever. “There are always going to be the haves and the have-nots — the divide is getting bigger and bigger all the time. And this book talks about that. A lot of books for kids and teens do not.”
Jack Starky read passages from the book.
Memos from Hollywood: Librarian Jo Ellen Misakian and the students of Lone Star School wrote to Francis Ford Coppola asking him to turn The Outsiders into a movie. He did.
→ Read letters to Misakian from producer Frank Roos during the film's development
Slideshow: How The Outsiders became a movie
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