Monday, May 3, 2010

Spreading the Awesome: Stay Gold, Ponyboy

Today Elana Johnson is hosting "Spreading the Awesome: National Hug an Author Day!" Please go to this post to see a list of the many published authors who are being celebrated today. Then check out Elana's pick, Kathleen Duey.

Today I celebrate a longtime favorite of mine: S. E. Hinton. I recently reread her classic, The Outsiders, with my fifth grade son. He and I have read and explored new books together like the Harry Potter and Percy Jackson series. I was excited to share something that I read and enjoyed when I was 11 years old.

Coincidentally the movie, The Outsiders, came out around the time I would have naturally read the book. The movie was released in March 1983 when I was in sixth grade. I started buying the Teen Beat magazines around that time and due to the fact of so many handsome, young men (or babes as I would have called them back then) in this movie, The Outsiders had plenty of coverage in these mags. And on my walls. I may even have to say that this movie caused my boy craziness in junior high. I devoured any magazine about this movie. C. Thomas Howell and Matt Dillon were plastered all over my walls and bedroom door. I watched the movie many times. Two lines from the movie have been quoted by my mom, my sister, and I hundreds of times since then. "Do it for Johnny!" and "He couldn't take it - he's gonna blow!" are still peppered in our conversations today.


But back to the book. The movie may have intensified my interest in reading the book, but the book itself kept me reading it and rereading it all through my teens. I remember bringing the book to my grandparents' cabin and rereading it one summer for the third or fourth time. There I made up a song about the characters of the book, much to the annoyance of my older sister. The song wasn't annoying so much as the fact that I sang it all the time! I also memorized (and can still recite) the first line of the book.

What did I love about this book? It was honest, yet not totally graphic. The characters were likable even though they smoked, stole, rumbled, and cussed. Ponyboy Curtis and Two-Bit Mathews are two of my all time favorite characters from a book. Ponyboy was smart, handsome, but felt picked on like many youngest siblings do. He even loved to read and enjoyed poetry (just like me). Do you remember him reading "Nothing Gold Can Stay" by Robert Frost? Two-Bit was a riot. He was carefree and joked around even before a big rumble. I giggled as I read his flippant comments to others. And of course I cried at another point of the book for another character. My husband, son, and I also recently enjoyed watching the movie together. A totally random fact about the widespread influence of this book/movie is that the lead singer of rock band Buckcherry, Josh Todd, has "Stay Gold" tattooed on his knuckles!

I loved rereading this book so much that I am now rereading That was Then, This is Now by S. E. Hinton, her second book. I even forgot that Ponyboy was a minor character in this book! I plan to read or reread her other books when I'm done with this one.

Here are a few facts about Susan Eloise Hinton that I found on her website.

*S.E. Hinton's first novel, The Outsiders, was published in 1967.

*The pressure from the fame of her first book helped cause a three year writer's block. Her boyfriend (now husband) then encouraged her to write two pages a day. Her next novel, That Was Then, This Is Now came from these writings.

*She has a cameo as a nurse in a scene with Dally (Matt Dillon) in The Outsiders. I remember this from my teen magazines. I was the authority on Outsider fun facts back then.

*Hinton still lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

*Her other books include Tex, Rumblefish, and Taming the Star Runner. Big David, Little David and The Puppy Sister are her books for younger readers. Her latest book, Hawkes Harbor , was released last week!


So, today I hug you, S.E. Hinton, for your honest and inspirational books that stand the test of time. Thank you.
Photobucket

30 comments:

Bish Denham said...

All of her books are great. And she was so young when she started writing!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

You know, I've never read the book before, but I think I saw the movie when it came out. Maybe. I'll definitely add it to my TBR pile. :)

Jonathon Arntson said...

Nice Kelly! It's been a longtime since I read this, I may have to revisit soon.

Anita said...

I've never read this book! I know, I know. I have to get it. I keep putting it on hold at the library and then I don't pick it up on time and they put it back on the shelves (this is a big no-no, as it costs the library $ & womanpower, I'm sure, and I will try to stop doing it).

Coincidentally, I also have STAY GOLD tattooed on my knuckles. :)
word verification: dishicat

Tina Laurel Lee said...

I beat Anita because I have "stay gold" on my a**.

Um, not really.

I love what you have to say about Pony Boy! And what you say about SE Hinton! It is great to know that she also suffered from those writing fears and to know she solved it the two page a day way. As you know, I am so a proponent of a little bit at a time. Yay for your review!

Heather Kelly said...

This one was a great one. Thanks for the blast from the past, Kelly!!

KM said...

This is one I've really wanted to read but never got around to. Looks like another for the TBR pile.

Laura Pauling said...

So when are you going to post a blog of you singing the song you made up? I'll be waiting...

Dawn Simon said...

Great post. Have you seen the interview Nathan Bransford did with S.E. Hinton? It's wonderful.

Taffy said...

Thanks for the reminder of great books from my teen years!

Anita said...

TINA: Hee hee!

KELLY: I second Laura's suggestion.

Kelly said...

Bish - Yes, I wonder if that helped her capture the voice so well.
Stina - I hope you read it one day!
Jon - I had so much fun revisiting it and That Was Then. In fact, it's been so long, I forgot half the plot to That was then!
Anita - I have to say I am surprised you didn't read this yet! I should have known you and Tina had these matching tattoos! ;)
But yours should say, Stay Bold instead of Stay Gold! Hee!
Tina- Yes, I found that interesting that even she had a writer's block. Plus the two page a day seems doable and not overwhelming!

Kelly said...

Heather - You are welcome!
KM - Put it towards the top of the TBR pile! :)
Laura (and Anita) - I don't think I'll subject you all to that one! :)
Dawn - No, I haven't! Thank you so much for letting me know. I'm going to check it out today!
Taffy - Yes, I knew many would be posting about current favorites. I didn't want anyone to forget classic favorites!

Kimberly Franklin said...

Aw, The Outsiders, I need to read this book again. It's been so long. Great post, Kelly!! :)

Christine Fonseca said...

Great shout out to a classic!

Suzanne Casamento said...

Awesome post. I, too, love SE Hinton. Did you know that she was only 17 when she wrote The Outsiders?

Wow.

Elle Strauss said...

Thanks for the great post on a wonderful author.

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

This is such an amazing book! It's been a while...I think I'll pick up a new copy and enjoy it again!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I loved THE OUTSIDERS too. I read it first in 1979 or 80. I was in jr. high. :) It's great when books last for decades!

C. Michael Fontes said...

Woah! Blast from the past! Thanks for the post!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I always have such a good time when I each this novel. Kids still love it (and me, too, of course)! Great feature, Kelly. :-)

Solvang Sherrie said...

I bought this book a while back but I haven't read it yet. Thanks for the nudge. I'll have to pull it off the shelf :)

The Wild About Writing Trio said...

I remember this book being assigned to us in middle school. Great book! I'm looking forward to reading it with my own kids.

Kim

Hema P. said...

You totally sold the book and the author to me, Kelly. Great post! Having grown up in a country where there were more Enlgish (as in from England) books available - and hence read in schools - than American ones, I'm having fun discovering wonderful American (contemporary, so to speak) children's literature!

Vonna said...

I read the Outsiders when I was in fifth grade, so consequently, when our sixth grade teacher asked if anyone knew a poem, I stood and recited "Nothing Gold Can Stay."
Years later in my twenties, as the result of an oh-yeah-prove-it situation (I won't bore you with the details) I recited the first three pages of The Outsiders, though I hadn't read it in over ten years.

Good book.

Jenn Wilks said...

I love the little facts you shared at the end. I can so see myself going through a 3-year writer's block after publishing a book. I just hope I have someone supportive around to push me to write just 2 pages a day. :o)

Yaya' s Home said...

What an informative post. You've made me wanna' read all of her books. I love hearing about other authors' backgrounds. Thanks.

~ Yaya
Yaya's Home

Christina Farley said...

This book is truly a classic!

Tory said...

Such a great post, Kelly! I love S.E. Hintons' books; The Outsiders is my fav, too.

I wanted to share a contact w/ you.

I met someone last week at the Alabama Writers Symposium that might be of interest to you.

Her name is Wendy Reed and she, too, writes poetry.

Her memoir is titled: An Accidental Memoir, How I Killed Someone and Other Stories.

She is an amazing speaker and also very down-to-earth. Her email is wendyreed66@gmail.com and her memoir is published through Jefferson Press.

I'm all about sharing info (isn't that what blogging is all about?)...hope this helps in some way!:-) Tory

Kimberly said...

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this book! One of my all time favorites! I think I've read and loved all SE Hinton's books (well, except for those new ones.) I always loved the movie, too, in fact I just bought it a couple weeks ago when I stumbled across it.