I had never read this book before, although a lot of you probably read it in middle school. This is a story about teenage gang life in the 1950’s.
The main character and first person perspective is Ponyboy. His brother’s names are Darry and Sodapop. They were orphaned after their parents were killed in a car crash. Darry got a job and Soda dropped out of school to work at a gas station.
Ponyboy is the youngest boy, a small but tough greaser just like the rest of his friends. Greasers are low-life, low-income, t-shirt and jeans wearing, greasy-haired boys. Their arch enemies are the Socials, or Soc’s. The Soc’s are preppy rich kids who think the greasers are nobodies.
The main plot is about when Ponyboy and his friend Johnny get in a fight with some Soc’s and Johnny kills one of them to save Ponyboy from getting drowned. The rest of the story involves them running away and their friend Dally helps bring them supplies. I don’t want to give anything else away.
The rivalry between the greasers and the Soc’s is interesting because it draws a lot of parallels to our own teenage years in the new century. Even though the differences between the groups are unique to that era, the reasons behind the differences are the same. It’s all about money and social status. The greasers were called greasers because they always wore a ton of grease in their hair, but it’s also a symbol of who they are and they are proud to be greasers.
I watched the 1983 movie after I finished the book. It followed pretty closely and then skipped some scenes with the brothers at the end. For an 80’s movie, it was alright. It’s packed with great actors, such as Patrick Swayze, Ralph Maccio, Emilio Estevez, Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, C. Thomas Howell, and Diane Lane. It’s so fun to see them all as babies!
I would recommend the both the book and movie.