Monday, May 15, 2006

Teen Irony

S. E. Hinton, author of "The Outsiders," a book that has faced many challenges over the years, began writing this book when she was 15 years old. By the time she was 17, S. (Susan) E. (Eloise) Hinton had her book published. She was in high school when she wrote about her experiences growing up in a high school that had rival gangs. Hinton was tired of reading young adult books that had no connection with real life as she experienced it. She wrote about the real emotions and concerns of a teenager. Because of its realism and the "macho" aspects of "The Outsiders," the publishers suggested that she should hide her identity as a woman.

Today, her books are somewhat dated in some aspects but the raw emotional aspects of them are true to the young adult experience and they remain important works.

"The Outsiders" and "That was Then, This is Now" were two favourite books of mine when I was young. However they were far outside of my experience in a small town in Canada. They likely have much more meaning for teens today who experience gang wars in areas like Toronto. The irony is that there are people who believe this book, written by a teenager, should not be read by teenagers.

Her other books for young adults include:
That Was Then, This Is Now
Rumble Fish
Taming the Star Runner

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