My high school days were spent desperately trying to get girls to notice me. Susan Eloise Hinton spent her time writing The Outsiders. Set in 1960’s Oklahoma, it’s the story of two rival gangs, the Greasers and the Socs. More than that, it’s a story of self-identity, and the strength of brotherhood and friendship in those difficult teenage years.
Growing up, everyone I knew read The Outsiders, and it’s still widely popular today, selling hundreds of thousands of copies every year. It wasn’t until much later that I read Hinton’s other works: That Was Then, This Is Now, Tex, and Rumble Fish, an exceptional example of the power in minimalism.
Not the most prolific writer, her career has been more about quality than quantity, with only 6 novels, a short story collection, and a couple of children’s books to her name.
An interesting side note: It was Hinton’s publisher who suggested she write as “S.E.” since The Outsiders‘ narrator was a 15-year-old boy. It was thought Ponyboy wouldn’t be respected if readers knew he was created by a woman.
Oh, how things have(n’t) changed!