REVIEW: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.
Movie rights have sold to Fox, with Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) to star.
“The Hate U – the letter U – Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody. T-H-U-G L-I-F-E. Meaning what society gives us as youth, it bites them in the ass when we wild out.”
I bought this book on a whim and I’m so glad I did. It was a heartbreaking read but it never left you feeling hopeless. Starr was a very likeable main character who could confidently articulate some of the many racial issues she and her community face on a daily basis. It was truly enlightening to see things from her POV – how she and her family are treated by the police, the gang violence that permeates their lives, the lack of opportunities, the clash between Starr at her predominantly white school and Starr in her black community. I can’t stress enough that this is absolutely essential reading.
“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”
In my home county of Northumberland, only 1% of people identify as an ethnic group other than white. I grew up almost completely ignorant of racial issues – our high school only had a couple of black students (my middle and first schools had none). As I read more and more, I realised how insulated my life was and tried to educate myself as much as possible. It became obvious how much my privilege as a white, straight, cisgender female shaped the opportunities I was afforded. These advantages and accesses can blind us to the problems others face. The main thing I’ve learnt is to listen to ethnic minorities when they talk about racial issues, to ask what I can do to help rather than assume I know best. This isn’t my conversation and I need to keep quiet.
“That’s the problem. We let people say stuff, and they say it so much that it becomes okay to them and normal for us. What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”
Books like THUG are so important because they give me an opportunity to listen when someone much more knowledgeable talks about experiences I know next to nothing about and can never truly understand. Angie Thomas was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement that arose as a response to police brutality. By reading her book and recommending it to others, privileged people like myself can show they are listening and willing to be told what they can do to help.
This is one of those books that everyone should read and I can’t recommend it enough.
|About the Author
Angie Thomas was born, raised, and still resides in Jackson, Mississippi as indicated by her accent. She is a former teen rapper whose greatest accomplishment was an article about her in Right-On Magazine with a picture included. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Belhaven University and an unofficial degree in Hip Hop. She can also still rap if needed. She is an inaugural winner of the Walter Dean Meyers Grant 2015, awarded by We Need Diverse Books.