Merrill Middle School
Des Moines, IA
Dear S.E. Hinton,
I am a different person because of your book Outsiders. You made me a better person by talking about the gang's struggles and how they had to get by on so little physically and mentally. You gave Johnny a choice and this is mine.
The day after I read the book I was at a gas station. I saw a less fortunate person in the line in front of me. She was talking fast and was 25 cents short of her payment. The minute I saw her I was reminded of how Johnny and the gang struggled for money and had to steal things sometimes. I took a quarter out of my pocket, pressed it into her hand, left. Like I left her, you have left me inspired. Now when I see someone in need I don't see someone who can't be helped, I see someone I can give to.
I am also more courageous after I read about Johnny running into a burning church and saving three kids from a fire he started. He knew he would be hurt but he did it anyway. Every time I see one of my classmates being picked on, I think of Johnny and it makes me sad. Once I saw a kid being bullied who I could help and I stepped in and stopped the bully. After the bully stopped I invited the victim to hang out and we have been friends ever since.
Your book, Outsiders, has made me see those people who are less popular and find that they really are good people. They can be friends if you know where to look. You need to be kind and open yourself up to seeing people in a different way, not just how they look or by how other people judge them.
Always stay true to your friends is what you said. That has helped change me too. Your friends will come through. If my friends came through for me, I thought I could come through for them too. When I saw the less fortunate woman and that kid being bullied I knew that for Johnny and for all the other outsiders, I needed to help them move on and I needed to be there for them. You gave me the choice to help someone or stand around. You gave me the power to act. That is my choice.