Thursday, October 2, 2008

Rumble Fish / by S.E. Hinton

The problem with a reputation is that it's owned by others. Something Rusty-James can't seem to figure out about the rough and tumble world of gangland politics. Younger brother to street-legend and current top dog "Motorcycle Boy", his own ambitions aspire likewise even if his fists lead him into more trouble than they can get him out of. An absence of discernment and poise is fine while your brother's around to bail you out, but not all battles can be fought halfway. Nothing betrays a lie like the truth. It's not long before Rusty-James jams himself into circumstances too comprimising to escape from as, left to his own devices, his authority and the shaky influence with others begins to falter.

Post-Holden Caufield but pre-Drugstore Cowboy, there was S.E. Hinton. A teenager, and girl no less, this anomaly of Faulknerian proportions defied mainstream stereotypes to become a touchstone of YA fiction, penning her first novel--The Outsiders(1967)--at 18 while still attending her Tulsa high school. Still the second best-selling YA book ever, 'Outsiders' was a stark representation of personal alliegances within rival street gangs and the violent consequences enmeshed therein. Its publication made Hinton a household name nearly overnight and is still required reading in many secondary schools. Her other books, all involving teenage boys at life's crossroads, have served to cement her among the pillars of the genre.

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