Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My Banned Book for This Year

Not that I necessarily intend to read only one, but for the week highlighting banned books, I read "The Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton. A few things struck me about it: how enjoyable I found it regardless of its classification as teen fiction, how uncontroversial I found both the plot and the themes, and how much it reminded me of my sister, Lindsay.

I can't figure out why exactly it reminded me of her. Unlike myself, I know that she read S.E. Hinton books as a teen. She even sought out the movies on DVD, in spite of the fact that they are quite old for someone her age. This could explain the collection, but I think the connection goes a bit further - Ponyboy's frustration with the labels he is saddled with seem to mirror some of what Lindsay has talked about regarding growing up disabled. There might also have been something in the way the character spoke that somehow brought Lindsay to mind.
I could picture hundreds and hundreds of boys living on the wrong sides of cities, boys with black eyes who jumped at their own shadows. Hundreds of boys who maybe watched sunsets and looked at stars and ached for something better. I could see boys going down under street lights because they were mean and tough and hated the world, and it was too late to tell them that there was still good in it, and they wouldn't believe it if you did. It was too vast a problem to be just a personal thing. There should be some help, someone should tell them before it was too late. Someone should tell their side of the story, and maybe people would understand then and wouldn't be so quick to judge a boy by the amount of hair oil he wore.

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