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The Outsiders Was My 11-Year-Old Jam

Did you all ever get into S.E. Hinton? Because I way, super-did. When I was eleven, my class read Rumble Fish, and this spawned a whole thing where I read all of her books and organized my Littlest Pet Shop toys into rival gangs.

shit's about to go down

I mean, really it just makes sense. I was an 11 year old girl surrounded by cornfields and religiously watching the works of Rodgers & Hammerstein, and the books are about teenage boy gangs who do drugs and get into knife fights. It was only a matter of time before we found each other.

Most people seem to have read The Outsiders if they've read any of her books, probably because there was a movie made of it with Matt Dillon (remember Matt Dillon?).

They're all pretty much Oklahoma-based books about troubled young men. Maybe I liked the fact they were in gangs, i.e. group friendships? At age 11, I was still inviting all the girls in my class to my birthday party (a practice soon to be RUDELY disturbed by the onslaught of 6th grade and realization by certain girls that we should divide into subgroups -- damn you, middle schooool!). I'm a follower, and to be honest, I'd probably be pretty easy to recruit into a gang.

Aside from The Outsiders and Rumble Fish, there was Tex; Taming the Star Runner (which involved horses! hurray!); and That Was Then, This Is Now, which I wrote a probably terrible essay on in 6th grade.

Based on Wikipedia descriptions of the plots, these sound like exactly the sorts of books I would avoid now. They're pretty much exclusively about dudes and they're all sad. But if you will remember, this was the age when all my stories ended with everyone dying, usually after copious vomiting. My stories nowadays would end up with everyone going off to a medieval-style feast with Jennifer Lawrence that was also attended by unicorns.

And you couldn't ride the unicorns, because RESPECT THE UNICORN, but they'd be wandering around being magical, and then there'd be a dance party to Ke$ha, and the evening would end with everyone going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando.

So it's pretty far removed from S.E. Hinton days is what I'm saying. That being said, I really want to re-read at least some of her books. You don't spend hours having your plastic hamsters fight your dogs-that-can-fetch-the-paper-because-of-MAGNETS without retaining some affection for the thing that caused it.


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