I understood exactly what he was talking about. Mark had the habit of thinking the way I did; the difference was that he said it and I usually didn’t.
“Yeah, but still, don’t you kinda miss that one-for-all, all-for-one routine? It’s kinda sad, really, when you get to where you don’t need a gang — I mean, like you did before.”
“It’s kind of a good thing too,” I said, “when you know your own personality so you don’t need the one the gang makes for you.”
“Yeah,” Mark sighed. “But there’s a difference. I wonder what the difference is?”
“The difference is,” I said evenly, “that was then, and this is now.”
Mark flashed me that lion-like grin. “Bryon, you are brilliant.”
We didn’t say much the rest of the afternoon. We were thinking.
Bryon and Mark are best friends — and almost brothers. They are there for the other no matter what.
And then something happens.
Bryon grows up. Mark doesn’t.
But hate can never get between them…can it? They are brothers.
Or is it: they were brothers?
In My Opinion…
Author: S.E. Hinton
My Rating: 4 Stars
Hard, gritty, and emotional. The characters come alive for you, standing just there, in a hard world of their own — the streets. Gangs are drifting out of fashion, hippies are coming in. But kids still get jumped on and bashed up, guys still get murdered for no reason, cops are the “bad-guys” and always hated, and everyone lives cold, empty lives, trying to figure out why on earth all this happens.
It’s a small book, easy for one-sitting read. Recommended audience: teens and highschoolers. There isn’t much bad language, but little else is hidden about this kind of tough life.
The first few chapters seem a little empty, as if the author isn’t really sure where the book is heading. These chapters meander along, at an easy place, getting you used to the rough life the kids have, the places they hang out, what they get up to. You won’t be bored, but you do wonder when the action is going to start.
The story-line is one that will stay with you. The ending (if you can call it an ending) is hardly satisfactory and will leave you imagining, thinking, and wishing people didn’t have to live that way. The author writes with emotion — pours it into story, characters and plot alike. I glimpsed the hard life these kids have through this book. Two friends, wrenched apart as they grow older and then, the finale. What’s hate? What’s revenge? Does the cycle ever end?
Mark said, in the same easy, pleasant voice he had used all along. “I ain’t never goin’ back there again. When I get outa here, you ain’t never going to see me again.”
“We were like brothers,” I said, desperate. “You were my best friend–“
He laughed then, and his eyes were the golden, hard, flat eyes of a jungle animal. “Like a friend once said to me, ‘That was then, and this is now.'”
I broke out in a sweat and was suddenly glad of the walls and the guards and the bars. I think if he could have, Mark would have killed me.