Book title: The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Genre: Young Adult Novel
Personally, I didn’t think this book is a masterpiece. I still don’t, after some head scratching; nonetheless, it is a good read.
The Hate U Give is about how Starr, 16-year-old African American girl deals with the aftermath of witnessing her childhood friend Khalil being shot by a cop for… doing absolutely nothing wrong. Her fear is intense as she confronts a system that she knows is working against her. She’s afraid to speak out, yet angry that Khalil’s murderer could escape justice. We see, through Starr’s eyes, how the media presents young black men as guilty until proven innocent – and when you’re poor, black, and from a rough neighborhood, it’s virtually impossible to appear innocent.
Though, at its heart, this book first and foremost captures the perspective of a scared young girl. A girl with a loving family, complicated friendships with white teenagers at her school, and a white boyfriend. The relationship subtleties run alongside the fight for justice and are no less captivating.
An amazing feature with the novel hands down are the characters created. The characters were fleshed out especially Starr’s family, her Mom and Seven and Dad, the neighbors and Maya, most were developed well. Still, on the characters, I was wondering how strange a name they had but it was explained later and every time I found myself wondering about something, the answer would eventually show up at a later point in the book, it is if the author Angie Thomas perceived we’d have such suspenseful thoughts!
There is also a strong theme of social injustice throughout the movie. The blame isn’t placed squarely at the door of “white America” as some have suggested. The book doesn’t shy away from gang & drug problems that plague communities across America & the wider world.
Now, I love that this book focused on an unjust police shooting, but I think the author took a wrong turn when she decided to focus on “blacks” and “whites.” My question is: why was the police officer’s skin color the main focus of this book? Shouldn’t the fact that he’s a police officer who unjustly shot somebody is the reason for Starr getting so angry about her friend’s death? Black people are unjustly shot by police officers, yes, but so are white people.
In truth, however, black lives matter isn’t saying white lives don’t matter, or blue lives don’t matter. Black lives matter isn’t anti-white, and it’s not anti-police. They are not mutually exclusive.
It’s just more important that people see and understand that BLACK LIVES MATTER because I have come to observe keenly through several articles and news online that with the state of the USA you wouldn’t believe that because of what people are seeing and what they are experiencing on a daily basis.
I really don’t want people to think I’m tearing this book apart. Clearly, it’s groundbreaking and empowering material for any age, race, or class of reader. From an editorial standpoint, though, there are things I would fiddle with.
I loved the way that this book ended, and it’ll probably stick with me for a while. The ending and the justice you want isn’t always warranted in today’s America, but the best you can do is turn your anger toward action and activism.
Cue in recent happenings in Ghana should see young people who are directly and indirectly affected to move beyond embarking on campaigns through articles published in the newspapers and online media portals.
I think there’s the need to commend Reginald Sakyi – Brown for embarking on that campaign to have UGMC opened, that right there is a strong act of activism.
What else can I even say? If you want to have your heart ripped out – read this book. If you want to read a great book about a girl dealing with family and relationships – read this book. If you want to cry, laugh, and then cry some more – read this book. If you’re ready to change this stupid fucking world – read this book.
The writer is the host of book review show, Read a book a week that airs on Radio Univers 105.7 every Wednesday at 3pm.