The Outsiders and Sam’s Letters to Jennifer (2 mini-reviews)

April 21, 2009 Reading Nook, Review 28

After every read-a-thon I get a little case of blog/book burnout. I’m trying not to go there this time, so I’m keeping these two reviews short. I have a book tour review for Thursday and will probably post “regular” reviews on the other read-a-thon books over the next few weeks. Is everyone else all caught up on sleep yet?

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Title: The Outsiders
Author: S.E. Hinton
Published: 1967 Pages: 180
Genre: YA Fiction

At first glance Ponyboy Curtis might seem like any other teenage boy, but he and his brothers belong to the Greaser gang who is at constant odds with the Soc gang. The Greasers are poorer or lower class kids whose parents mostly don’t care what they’re up to or in Ponyboy’s case an orphan whose older brothers are raising him. The Socs are wealthier and seem to have everything going for them. When the two gangs fight together, they fight to the death. What happens, though, when young Ponyboy gets mixed up in one of these vicious fights?

Man, when I get to rambling about a book I get to rambling (well, I’m rambling in my head and my hands are fighting to keep this brief). I liked this book, but I think I would have liked it better if I read it when I was in high school. Seems to be a cult classic, and I can certainly see why. There is a lot of emotion and depth found in the story and it is impossible not to like Ponyboy and to cheer him on. One of my favorite quotes from the book (and a theme running throughout–Cherry is a Soc who befriends Ponyboy):

Maybe Cherry stood still and watched the sun set while she was supposed to be taking the garbage out. Stood there and watched and forgot everything else until her big brother screamed at her to hurry up. I shook my head. It seemed funny to me that the sunset she saw from her patio and the one I saw from the back steps was the same one. Maybe the two different worlds we lived in weren’t so different. We saw the same sunset (41).

See…I can keep it short! By the way, how did I not know that the movie was so star-studded?

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Title: Sam’s Letters to Jennifer
Author: James Patterson
Published: 2004 Pages: 263
Genre: Fiction

Other than listening to one of his audiobooks, this is my first taste of James Patterson. It was perfect for the read-a-thon as the pages just flew by. If I were to be really honest (which I will be), I’ve gotta say that this book wasn’t my cup of tea and I won’t be rushing out for more Patterson. Let those tomatoes fly this way; I’m ready.

When Jennifer’s grandmother, Sam, is hospitalized, Jennifer discovers a bundle of letters that Sam has written to her. Within these letters is Sam’s story of heartache and love, of finding and living her life. The letters are a type of parallel to Jennifer’s own life and they teach her that she must heal and move forward with her life. Of course there is a lovely neighbor, Brendan, who is willing to help her live a little.

I realize that nothing I say is going to please anyone, so I’m just going to get on with it. This is the type of book for me that is complete brain candy–a harmless read but with very little mental stimulation. Great for comfort, but I can only handle a few of these a year. Curiously enough, it’s the type of movie I would probably eat up. I’m a sucker for a great romance movie.

The end. :)

28 Responses to “The Outsiders and Sam’s Letters to Jennifer (2 mini-reviews)”

  1. Lisa

    I also liked The Outsiders, which I read 3 or 4 years ago. The movie has EVERYONE in it.

    I haven’t picked up a book since the read-a-thon.

  2. claire

    I loved The Outsiders when I read it in my adolescence. :D James Patterson.. I feel the same way as you. I read only one book by him, Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas, a few years ago, and it just wasn’t for me either. I don’t think I will ever read anything by him again.

  3. Laura

    I haven’t read The Outsiders, but I would have taught it in my class if I would have kept teaching! I know my younger siblings both really loved it in middle school!

    Patterson isn’t my favorite either. His books seem to be best suited for plane rides and read-a-thons (and occasional audio books–as long as no one else is in the car to be embarrased with me! :))

    I need to get my mini-reviews written soon–yours were short and to the point! I need you to help me! :)

  4. Trish

    *Bermuda – It’s a classic, for sure!

    *Lisa – I have a blog tour on Thursday that I have to finish the book for. Otherwise I wouldn’t be reading anything either!

    *Claire – The book was harmless, but in the end I just didn’t care about anything that happened. Great for the read-a-thon, though!

    *Laura – There was only one “embarrassing” scene in this one that I can remember. You should read The Outsiders. You can do write those minis!! Do I need to be your review cheerleader?? :D

  5. violetcrush

    I loved Sam’s Letters to Jennifer. As you say it’s brain candy. I need books like these once in a while. They are refreshing.

  6. Vivienne

    I have only ever seen the film The Outsiders – never thought to read the book. I will have to look out for it now. Did you ever wonder whether James Patterson ever sleeps? He just seems to produce one book after another in such a short time frame. Everywhere I look I see different books by him. He is so clever.

  7. Jess

    Yeah, I completely agree with the brain candy comment. Though, I need a little light reading every once and a while!

  8. Nicola

    Oh, I read all the SE Hinton books when I was in gr. 7/8 but have never re-read any of them. I’d love to do that someday and see if they live up to my remembrances of them.

  9. Joanne ♦ The Book Zombie

    Ohh The Outsiders! I must have watched that movie a thousand times but it’s the only Hinton book I haven’t read – I must get to it soon :)

    Patterson is a weird author for me, I really enjoy the thrillers but the romancey ones seem a little too “movie of the week” to me.

  10. Trish

    *Carrie – I’ll have to see if I can rent the movie–what a great cast!

    *Violetcrush – I agree that these types of novels are a great break every once in a while. I guess for me, though, after a while they start sounding the same?

    *Scrap Girl – Patterson is a machine, I’m convinced! :) I think I’d be more interested in picking up his thriller type books in the future rather than more romance type books.

    *Jess – Nothing wrong with light every now and then!! Especially during and after the read-a-thon. :)

    *Nicola – I honestly didn’t realize she had written so many books until I picked this one up. I feel like I’ve been missing out!

    *Joanne – Yup, “movie of the week” is a great way to describe it. I think I’ll try a thrilled next time I pick him up.

    *Michelle – I kind of feel that way about Nicholas Sparks, although I loved The Notebook. Good in small doses. :)

  11. samantha.1020

    I read The Outsiders in high school and really enjoyed it. I’ve been wanting to reread it but haven’t had the chance yet. Thanks for sharing your thoughts :)

  12. Literary Feline

    I read everything I could get my hands on by S.E. Hinton when I was a teenager. The Outsiders was one of my favorites. It was a world so different than my own, but I could relate to some of the characters just the same.

    There’s nothing wrong with brain candy! I haven’t read the letter books by Patterson, but I know my cousin loves them.

  13. joanna

    I loved The Outsiders when I read it earlier this year and was actually surprised that I liked it so much not having read it in high school. The Patterson sounds a bit mushy for me – but, like you, it’s exactly the kind of movie I’d rent when I’m on my own in the house! :-)

  14. Darlene

    I liked Sam’s Letters to Jennifer but liked Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas better. For me, it’s a break and I like them for a fast read but everyone is different.

  15. Trish

    *Sam – It would take you a lazy afternoon to read The Outsiders–you should! Have you read anything else by Hinton that you’d recommend?

    *Lit Feline – Where would you suggest one go after reading The Outsiders? I didn’t realize Hinton had written so much until recently. No, certainly nothing wrong with brain candy. :)

    *Amy – I must have been living in a cave when I was younger! All my friends love The Outsiders, but I wasn’t assigned it in school and had no idea who Hinton was until recently! Yikes. :)

    *Joanna – The Patterson books are incredibly mushy. I’m not big on that type of stuff in writing, but I like a nice sappy movie now and again!!

    *Dar – Maybe I’ll try Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas and see if that works better. They definitely are a nice break between heavier books! Still beats watching TV for me…

  16. Trisha

    I don’t remember how old I was when I first read Outsiders, but I do remember who I read it with, suggesting I was either in grade school or maybe my first year of high school. We memorized the poem and it became a sort of mantra for quite some time. To this day, I can still say it automatically.

    “Nature’s first green is gold…” was just a pretty poem to us, but somewhere we understood how it applied to our lives at the time.

    Thanks for reminding me of this. :)

  17. Thoughts of Joy

    For “harmless” reading, I liked Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas more than this one (like Dar). However, I found both to be light and fluffy reads that helped clear the mind. :)

  18. Trish

    *Trisha – The poem really is a great one. “Stay gold Ponyboy.” glad to see that this book resonated with so many people!

    *Joy – Has your name always said “Thoughts of Joy” or was it just “Joy” at one point? Hmmm… There are a few people who have recommended Suzanne’s Diary, so maybe I won’t write Patterson off just yet. And it could have been that I was reading this from 12-2 in the morning…and reading very quickly!

  19. Thoughts of Joy

    I just changed the name yesterday because I ran across two Joy’s in the last 2 weeks. I know that my picture identifies me as well, but I wanted my own name. I’m such a baby!

  20. Jeane

    I loved this book in high school. Read it many times. Thought the movie was pretty good too. Then I tried several other books by Hinton, and they all fell flat with me. I don’t know what happened.

  21. trishalynn0708

    I have to say that I am a HUGE James Patterson fan. But only for his suspense novels. When I had seen that he wrote this book I did read it but it just was weird to me. I am used to seeing who the killer is in the book.. :)

  22. Trish

    *Melissa – I haven’t see the Outsiders movie, but I really need to—what a cast it has!

    *Jeane – Sometimes I think all it takes for other books to fall flat is loving one so much—maybe if Outsiders hadn’t been so great for you, the other ones would have been a little better.

    *Trishalynn – I’m listening to his Women’s Murder Club novels right now and am liking them much more than this and Sunday at Tiffany’s. This wasn’t a bad book per se, but just not my cup of tea.

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