"Stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold."The Outsiders is a coming of age story from the 1960s. It is told by the youngest member of a troubled but cute greaser group of true companions. It was written by S. E. Hinton, who was sixteen years old at the time.Ponyboy Curtis (yes, that's his real name) lives with his brothers Darrel and Sodapop (yes, it "even says so on his birth certificate"). Darrel (but everyone calls him Darry) is the leader of a gang of boys, all in various degrees of poverty and parental abandonment: Steve Randall, Sodapop's best friend; the nonstop joker Two-Bit (for once, not his real name); Dallas Winston, who served his first jail sentence when he was ten years old; and Johnny Cade, a quiet, sweet kid from an abusive home whom everybody protects like a puppy.The greasers' rival gang is the Socs (short for "Socials"; pronounced "Soashes"), rich "white trash with Mustangs and madras." Getting jumped and defending himself is a fact of life for Ponyboy, one made evident in the first pages of the book. The trouble really starts, however, when Johnny and Ponyboy pick up two girls from the Socs' side of the tracks (Cherry Valance and Marcia) at the movies. Cherry's boyfriend, Bob, and his friends come after them later in a nearby park, and Bob nearly drowns Ponyboy. Johnny comes to his rescue with a blade, and Ponyboy survives. Bob doesn't. Realizing there's no way greasers like themselves are going to get away with killing a Soc, even in self-defense, the boys run to their friend with the most experience in crime, Dallas. Dallas gives them some money and directions on where to run and hide (an abandoned church in Windrixville) until things die down.We won't give away the rest, but it involves more deaths, a fire, the ultimate gang rumble to end all rumbles, the pain and sorrow of love and friendship, a complete emotional and mental breakdown for Ponyboy, and a poem by Robert Frost.Unexpectedly, given the genre, it is very light on the angst. The greasers have it rough, but nobody's emo about it.Was followed by several sequels, of which Rumble Fish is the best known, and, of course, a rather faithful film adaptation by Francis Ford Coppola (with some awesome music) in which Hinton herself was directly involved.The film got its own sequel in 1990, which also served as the pilot episode to a short-lived, little known TV series.Not to be confused with The Outsiders, a superhero team in The DCU, or the tag team of Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. Also not to be confused with The Stranger, whose title is often translated as The Outsider. Very different from H.P. Lovecraft's short story The Outsider.
— Johnny Cade