Friday, April 8, 2016

Book Review: The Outsiders

The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton is about a 'greaser' named Ponyboy who is living with his two older brothers since his parents are gone. They, and their gang of friends are all 'greasers' or poorer people with long, greased up hair. They don't get along with the 'socs' or socials, which are the more privileged people. When things go bad and someone in their friend group kills a soc, ponyboy and the murderer, have to run away and hide from the police.
With the help of the toughest guy from the group, they hide out until disaster strikes. When the abandoned building they are staying in catches on fire while elementary school students are staying inside, the boys go in to save them, and they both come out burned, almost to the point of death.
Ponyboy recovers, but his friend is still in the hospital trying to keep breathing. With one friend at death's door, a murder, and social rivalries, there is nothing left to do but have a brawl... right?

The Outsiders was a good book, but it didn't live up to all of the hype that came with it. People kept raising my expectations with all of their wonderful reviews, I expected it to be magnificent, not just good. The storyline was mind-blowing, the characters were touching, and the writing was good. Overall, it was a good book.
The movie is good, but, like usual, not as good as the book. There is only so much a movie can show in the two hours they have been allotted.

Reading like a Writer

Most writers like to read too, and if they don't they should. Not only is reading enjoyable, it is a great way to improve your writing or learn how to write. Those authors are good authors because they know how to write and create a good story. Even if you don't like to read a lot, that's okay. A page a day is a good goal, but make sure your goal is realistic, not too high or too low. Otherwise you might find that you're hurting yourself instead of helping yourself.
Before you read the book, do a little research. What do the readers say about this book? What is the genre? Who is the author? Who published the book? Read the summary and the about the author section. Read the author's note and the dedication page. Doing this will not only help you get to know the book but also learn how to write sections like author's notes and summaries. Studies show that looking at examples then trying something and then repeating the process is the best way to learn, so try to write some of these things.
While you are reading, find literary devices. Our language arts teachers where not lying when they said metaphors and similes are important. Look for the author's strengths and weaknesses. Look for successes and failures of the story. How do the characters make you feel? Do you hate the bad guy? Why? How are you supposed to weite great characters if you can't even identify them yourself? You can't, it would be extremely difficult to say the very least.
Last but not least, after you have read the book, make a plot outline of the story. Does it follow the hero's journey graph? Identity the themes and motifs of the book. If you're feeling very ambitious you can create a list of all the characters and their traits. Not only will these things help you as a writer, they will help you as a reader too. You will understand the story better.
You can do these things in many different ways. You could write right on the book (gasp!), or use a notebook, or sticky notes. I personally use both a notebook and stickynotes. I use the sticky notes on the book. Then, once I've finished, I move them all to the notebook and do my after reading techniques in the notebook. Make sure to put page and paragraph numbers on your stickynotes so that you can go back and look at it if you would like. You can even get creative and invent a new way if you would like. :)

Happy reading!