The Outsiders is on my list of 100 Best Films Ever Made. And I hate Tom Cruise. I hate everything about the man. His religion, his face, his hair, the way he plays the same character in every movie (Tropic Thunder excluded, but that character was just as annoying as regular Tom Cruise, so fuck that guy too), but I can stand him as Steve in the film because he's just kinda... there. I think Matt Dillon and Ralph Macchio steal the show, but that's just me. Anyfloop, that's how I feel about the movie.
(For a minute there, I forgot I was reviewing the book...)
I suppose the reason I started a review of this book with a comment on the film is because they are not much different from each other. If you're pressed for time, the film will do just fine. Of course, if you want more inner thought and motivation, read the book.
Continuing the comparison of film and book (why the fuck not, right?), I believe that the movie handles [Dally's death (hide spoiler)] better than the book. In the novel, it's glossed over and damn near cast aside. Considering I loved that character, I gotta put the film above the book. Sorry, purists, but my honest opinion is my honest opinion, and you have every right to be wrong. So be wrong over there.
The audiobook is serviceable but nothing special. I swapped between the text and the audio because the narrator, at times, drove me crazy. Jim Fyfe is all right, I suppose, but his faux-hick accent was quite over the top in places, and I couldn't stand his performance of Dally. You might not become as annoyed, but I live in Alabama Country and I deal with necks o' red more than any sane human should. So, if'n you unt to, give this 'ere audiobook a try, 'cause we all knows ya can't read words good.
In summation: This is a classic. Read it. 156 pages isn't going to kill you, even if you have seen the movie. The audiobook can be annoying if you don't like hillbilly vernacular, so don't say I didn't warn you.
Final Judgment: Johnny's letter makes me cry.