The Outsiders Read online





  Dear Reader,

  It is very difficult for me to write about myself, and especially The Outsiders, which was written at a horrendous time in my life, was published by a series of mind-boggling synchronicities, and has gone further than any author dared dream. But I'll give it a shot.

  I wrote The Outsiders when I was sixteen years old. Actually I began it when I was fifteen, as a short story about a boy who was beaten up on his way home from the movies.

  But I didn't just write The Outsiders, I lived it. Looking back, I realize how important it was to me to have another life at that time. To be someone else. To deal with problems I had to face, and write my way to some sort of understanding and coping. This is all in hindsight. At the time, I was mad about the social situation in my high school. I desperately wanted something to read that dealt realistically with teen-age life.

  I knew I was going to be a writer. I love to write. I began in grade school, because I loved to read, and liked the idea of making stories happen the way I wanted them to. By the time I was in high school I had been practicing for years. So I was both elated and not surprised when I received my publishing contract on the day I graduated from high school.

  The Outsiders has taken me many places I never dreamed of going. It introduced me to people I would never otherwise have met. Although the names Patrick Swayze, Tom Cruise, Matt Dillon, Rob Lowe, C. Thomas Howell, Emilio Estevez, and Ralph Macchio are familiar to most people, and conjure visions of movie stars and glamour, I remember a group of sweet, goofy, incredibly talented and at the same time incredibly normal teen-age boys. I was involved in every aspect of filming the movie version of The Outsiders, and the memory I cherish most is of hanging out with "my boys."

  I owe Francis Coppola a debt of thanks. Not only for the respect, kindness, and friendship I personally received from him, but for the fact that he made the movie for the fans of the book. He shot a faithful adaptation, consulting me for everything from locations to wardrobe, but it was the fans of the book he wanted to please. And as far as I know, he is the only director to go back and assemble a more complete movie (The Outsiders, The Complete Novel DVD) because those fans asked him to.

  Fans. I receive letters from every state, from dozens of foreign countries. From twelve-year-olds and forty-year-olds. From convicts and policemen, teachers, social workers, and of course, kids. Kids who are living lives like those in The Outsiders. Kids who can't imagine living lives like those in The Outsiders. Kids who read all the time. Ones who never before finished a book.

  The letters saying "I loved the book" are good, the ones that say "I never liked to read before, and now I read all the time" are better, but the ones that say "The Outsiders changed my life" and "I read it fifteen years ago and I realize how much it has influenced my life choices" frankly scare me. Who am I to change anyone's life? I guess the best reply is "It's the book, not the author" and "It's the message, not the messenger." A lot of the time I feel that The Outsiders was meant to be written, and I was chosen to write it. It's certainly done more good than anything I could accomplish on a personal level.

  If this sounds like I am overwhelmed by the decades of incredible response to what began as a short story I started when I was fifteen years old, well, I guess that's the truth.

  Stay Gold.

  THE

  OUTSIDERS

  S. E. HINTON

  speak

  An Imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

  SPEAK

  Published by the Penguin Group

  Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.

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  Registered Offices: Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

  First published in the United States of America by The Viking Press, 1967

  Published by Puffin Books, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, 1997

  This edition published by Speak, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2006, 2012

  Copyright (c) S. E. Hinton, 1967

  Copyright renewed S. E. Hinton, 1995

  All rights reserved

  THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS HAS CATALOGED THE VIKING EDITION UNDER CATALOG CARD NUMBER: 67-13606

  "Nothing Gold Can Stay," is from Complete Poems of Robert Frost. Copyright 1923 by Holt,

  Rinehart and Winston, Inc. Copyright 1951 by Robert Frost.

  Reprinted by permission of Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

  ISBN: 978-1-101-64261-0

  All rights reserved.

  No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author's rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

  BOOKS BY S. E. HINTON

  Big David, Little David

  Hawke's Harbor

  The Outsiders

  The Puppy Sister

  Rumble Fish

  Some of Tim's Stories

  Tex

  That Was Then, This Is Now

  For Jimmy

  Table of Contents

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  The Outsiders

  That was Then, This is Now

  About the Author

  Chapter 1

  WHEN I STEPPED out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home. I was wishing I looked like Paul Newman--he looks tough and I don't--but I guess my own looks aren't so bad. I have light-brown, almost-red hair and greenish-gray eyes. I wish they were more gray, because I hate most guys that have green eyes, but I have to be content with what I have. My hair is longer than a lot of boys wear theirs, squared off in back and long at the front and sides, but I am a greaser and most of my neighborhood rarely bothers to get a haircut. Besides, I look better with long hair.

  I had a long walk home and no company, but I usually lone it anyway, for no reason except that I like to watch movies undisturbed so I can get into them and live them with the actors. When I see a movie with someone it's kind of uncomfortable, like having someone read your book over your shoulder. I'm different that way. I mean, my second-oldest brother, Soda, who is sixteen-going-on-seventeen, never cracks a book at all, and my oldest brother, Darrel, who we call Darry, works too long and hard to be interested in a story or drawing a picture, so I'm not like them. And nobody in our gang digs movies and books the way I do. For a while there, I thought I was the only person in the world that did. So I loned it.

  Soda tries to understand, at least, which is more than Darry does. But then, Soda is different from anybody; he understands everything, almost. Like he's never hollering at me all the time the way Darry is, or treating me as if I was si