A few days ago Karen asked if I would be interested in going to a book club at Story & Song.
“Sure.” I answered, without even asking which book they’d chosen.
“Well, check out the title before we commit.” she said. “It’s not one I’ve heard of.”
I took the flyer from her hand, scrolled down the page and jumped out of my seat scaring Webster, her corgie, half to death.
“Are you kidding me? I love this book – I’ve read it at least seven times.” I think I was actually jumping up and down. Karen laughed as I talked a hundred words a minute about how much I loved the book and what it meant to me.
It was The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.
I got that book at a book fair when I was in fifth grade and read it in a couple of days. I bawled my eyes out and read it again. I had a small crush on Sodapop, Two-Bit, Dallas, and Johnny and a major one on Ponyboy when I was eleven years old.
I hurt for Darry and I cheered for Ponyboy and I loved how sweet and honest he was. But more than that – I loved the story. I loved the words on the page.
When I found out that the author was a woman – a girl of fifteen actually – when she wrote The Outsiders I was floored. And I had to read it again.
I knew then that I wanted to be a writer.
We went to the bookstore the next day and picked up our copies.
I wondered what it would be like, reading it for the eighth time thirty six years later. I was worried that it might not hit me the same way it had years ago.
But I wasn’t disappointed.
When I got to the scene where Ponyboy is talking to Randy, the Soc, after the fire but before the rumble I felt the same exact way I did the first time I read it. When he realizes that where you’re from or what your situation is doesn’t make you who you are…
I fell in love with the words on the page all over again.