It took me a while to start writing this review. Most of all, I wondered if it was my place to write a review about this book. But I decided to just go ahead, so here it is.
I put ‘The Hate U Give’ by Angie Thomas on my e-reader right after I saw the trailer for the movie. With all the events going on in the US right now, I thought it would be something that could…educate me more on the subject.
Let’s be clear: I have no experience of being black in the US. I’m a white European and the probably most racism I ever experienced was directed towards my Latino host parents at Best Buy when I got to return an item without any issues after they refused the exact same item from my host parents.
But all these police shootings and following protests that have even been on our news in the last years, I can’t help but wonder: what can we do? Is there anything we (as humanity) can do, or is it an internal (cop) issue? As Starr’s dad says: “We aint’t gotta live there to change things, baby. We just gotta give a damn. A’ight?”
Anyway, I felt I needed to be informed more, but a lot of articles only focus on one side. One I’ve heard before, and that’s easy to find. I thought this book may be a good start to hear from the other side, even though it’s a (semi?)fictional book. It makes for a much easier read than essays and university papers.
Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.
So for the book.
The book follows Starr, who lives in two worlds: the poor, black ‘ghetto’ neighborhood where she grew up, and the mostly white prep school. She’s very careful to keep these worlds from each other.
Then her (unarmed) friend gets shot. The black community starts to protest, and soon it’s national news. Starr was the only witness of the shooting, but can she come forward without repercussions for her and her family?
Starr doesn’t only live in two worlds—there are two different stars. Both have black skin, but in suburbia, she pays attention to acting and talking ‘right’, which is not who she is inside. In her neighborhood, it seems like she doesn’t really have her own identity, just as the ‘daughter of’, but will the shooting change that?
I can’t change where I come from or what I’ve been through, so why should I be ashamed of what makes me, me?
‘The Hate U Give’ was hard to read. But that was more because of the subject, not because of the writing. I liked how we got to know Starr and what she thinks of other people and things.
She seems like a really smart girl, and I can’t imagine going through what she has to go through, even if it’s real life for too many people in this world.
I feel like it really taught me something and it gave me a peek in someone’s head who knows more of this subject than I do. And since I’m being honest, after finishing the book I looked up a number of people on Twitter who speak up about subjects like racism, feminism, and other subjects like these—both in the U.S., the world, and the Netherlands.
On the other hand, Starr also some privilege, with an uncle who’s a cop, a dad who’s a shop owner, and being able to attend a prep school in the suburbs. I realize that this book may not reflect what many people go through. But of course, it’s a novel, not a documentary.
‘The Hate U Give’ is a confronting, informational, and beautiful YA novel that everyone should read if they’re even slightly interested in the world around them (so hopefully, everyone).
The movie is being released in the US on October 19th. Oh, and more important news: Angie Thomas is writing her second novel ‘On The Come Up‘, which is scheduled to release on February 5th, 2019. It’s on my to-read list already.