Cover of the novel That Was Then, This Is Now

That Was Then, This Is Now is the second young adult novel written by S. E. Hinton. The book was was published in 1971. The novel was adapted to a film in 1985.


Since childhood, Bryon Douglas and Mark Jennings have been like brothers, but now times are changing. Bryon is growing up and thinking about who he wants to be, but Mark is still living for the thrill of the moment.

The book starts out with their mom being in the hospital. She is Bryon's birth mother, and Mark's adoptive mother. Mark's parents died in an argument with each other when they were both drunk and ended up shooting each other. So Mark and Bryon have to make money to help support the family while their mom is in the hospital getting surgery. Bryon gets a job at the local supermarket while Mark starts bringing in lots of cash. Bryon doesn't ask where it's from. Towards the end of the book, Byron discovers that Mark has been getting his money by selling drugs to hippies. Bryon is horrified since a 13 year old kid they know, named M&M, went missing and lost his mind because of someone selling him drugs. Bryon is shocked about Mark's new job and calls the police. He waits for Mark to come home. He tells Mark he found the drugs and Mark says that he will stop if it makes Bryon upset. Bryon says it is too late, that he already called the police. Mark is surprised, he does not believe that it is true. The police come and take Mark away to a reformatory school. Later, he acts up frequently and is sent to prison for a long time. A couple months after Bryon calls the police, he goes to visit Mark in the reformatory school. When Bryon went to visit Mark, Mark makes it very clear that he hates him. The story ends with Bryon mixed up and un-sure of things wishing he had the answers. In the book Bryon and Mark come across many different challenges and are found in tough scenarios. At one point in the book they are being held up at gunpoint along with a bartender named Charlie who gets shot and killed. M&M was kind of a hippy kid who got mixed up with some hardcore hippie college kids and ended up with drugs (not from Mark).

Connections to other Novels by Hinton

The characters of Tim and Curly Shepard  from The Outsiders novel also appear, as does their sister Angela, who is original to That Was Then, This Is Now. Randy, who was in The Outsiders, also appears as a hippie in this book, which is appropriate to those who have read or seen The Outsiders, as Randy is an affluent kid who feels guilty about the class division and becomes repulsed by it, which is the background and beliefs of many hippies.

In Tex, there is a brief description of Mark, who is original to That Was Then, This Is Now. There is also a girl who appears briefly in the novel named Cathy Carlson, as well her younger brother named M&M. M&M was the reason why Bryon called the police. But M&M was getting drugs from a different dealer.

External links

Novels: The Outsiders (1967) - That Was Then, This Is Now (1971) - Rumble Fish (1975) - Tex (1979) - Taming the Star Runner (1988)

Films: Tex (1982) - The Outsiders (1983) - Rumble Fish (1983) - That Was Then... This Is Now (1985)

Others: The Outsiders TV series (1990) - The Outsiders play (1990)

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