The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Summary: Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Everyone wants to know what really went down that night, and Starr is the only person who can answer that question
This is America
I both loved and hated The Hate U Give for the same reason. It spoke truth to power and provided insight to the current state of Black American life. I loved Angie Thomas’ unflinching narrative, but The Hate U Give left me in tears. The pain, suffering, discrimination, and even death that Starr, Khalil, and Maverick experienced reflect the lives and sudden deaths of the Tamirs, the Sandras, the Altons, and the Rekias of America and the loved ones left behind.
The Hate U Give has been the talk of the book world since its release. The book has deserved all the awards and praise it has received. I am still left with little hope. Even with The Hate U Give being on school reading lists, it’s doubtful society will change for the better. Looking at some of the responses to the novel, there are people who just don’t want to get it. It’s infuriating to read a book that speaks so much truth about your existence and then see people who have never and will never live such an experience dismiss it as hogwash.
The Mirror Has Two Faces
I definitely related to Starr putting on a façade at Williamson Prep. She didn’t want to be the stereotype of the hood black girl. I understand the feeling. As a teenager, I was often the only black face in a white space. For many black Americans, we are only allowed to be our truest self in the comfort of our own homes and among our family and closest friends. Double consciousness is essential to survive in the country that was built by us but not for us.
For Starr, having a frenemy like Hailey means Starr can never be her truest self. Hailey is the type of person who makes racially insensitive remarks, then gets offended when they’re called out for them. For folks like Hailey, being labeled a racist is worse than actually being racist. With situations like these, I understand Starr being hesitant in sharing her involvement in the police shooting with her “friends” at Williamson.
At least Starr’s boyfriend, Chris, was around to be a support system. Now, he can get an invitation to the cookout. I also understand why the first actor who played Chris in the movie had to go. Someone who makes racist remarks against black people can’t play the love interest for a young Black girl. Knowing the movie replaced Kian Lawley helps me know this adaptation is in the right hands.
The book world has been raving about The Hate U Give since its debut. However, I put off reading it because I knew it would affect me to my core. I knew I would eventually read it, but the adaptation put it on the top of my TBR List. I was interested in Angie Thomas’ take on the Black Lives Matter movement. Also, I wanted to know if The Hate U Give lived up to the hype.
Sometimes the book everyone loves doesn’t hit me the same (ahem … The Book Thief). Without a doubt, The Hate U Give lived up to all the praise it has received. The story is steeped in realness that had me smiling, laughing, and definitely crying.
The Hate U Give should be a must read both inside and outside of the classroom for everyone to have an insight into being Black in America. The Hate U Give is also an excellent read for young Black people to read a contemporary story that centers them as the hero. Rating: Carpe Librum