by Angie Thomas
Published February 28th 2017 by Balzer + Bray
It would be easy to quit if it was just about me, Khalil, that night, and that cop. It’s about way more than that though. It’s about Seven. Sekani. Kenya. DeVante.
It’s also about Oscar.
It’s even about that little boy in 1955 who nobody recognized at first–Emmett.
The messed-up part? There are so many more.
A few pages into the book and I knew it will be hyped up and now that I am done with it I know is deserves it. The only thing I knew when I got this book was that it was about the Black Live Matter movement, I didn’t read the synopsis or know it was a Young Adult book. It just came up as a suggestion when I was looking at City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson on Amazon (still no paperbacks). Boy am I glad that I got it. It had me up late at night struggling to get to the last page. A few pages into the book and my heart was already breaking, not because of anything I have not heard of before but because it deals with something that is still happening today.
Starr is a sixteen year old girl who has to split her personality into two, one she lets out when she is at home and the other when she is at school. She grew up in the not so nice part of town with the gangsters and shooting almost every day but her parents want something better for them so they end them to a private school almost an hour away. The struggle of split personalities is just not something that only she experiences as it comes up many other times in different characters.
Starr and Khalil are driving from a party when they are stopped by a cop and Khalil ends up dead. I didn’t cry at all here because this is something that has been happening over and over again. It just made so mad that it was all so realistic. I don’t know how else to put it but I was just furious. The story follows the life after the incident and takes us through some of the things that happen in such situations. For instance trying to cast a bad light on the victim to make it seem like his death was coming to him anyway. How the media plays a part in this game of showing the negative side of the victim while at the same time humanizing the real murderer in the case.
The Hate U Give is such a powerful debut novel and I recommend it to everyone. It’s such an important book that’s come out at the right time. We have all seen how contentious the Black Lives Matter movement has been with some people feeling it was coming for the police and others claiming that all lives matter. People never really took the time to understand why that movement was necessary and why they needed to speak up and keep on speaking up. So many Hailey’s in the world who don’t want to be educated on the facts at hand. Many people thinking the oppression ended when slavery was abolished. Honestly, the Hailey’s of the world can be a pain. And I used to be a Hailey until I made the choice to educate myself.
Angie Thomas explores why certain actions are expected from certain people and that Tupac reference was perfect. It ties the whole story together and the way she uses the characters to dissect the meaning of it all and apply it to the situations around them was beautiful. Beautiful? Lol, not sure that’s the right word to use there but I hope you get what I am saying. But in the end it does a good job to explain why people end up the situations they are in.
I’ve said it before, racism has never been something that was on my radar. I grew up in Kenya where that is the least of our problems and because of the movies I watched I mainly thought African Americans have an attitude problem. But ever since the camera phones started recording what the reality was, I knew I needed to do my research and I did. Living in denial about a situation will not make the situation go away and clearly doing what is considered to be right is also not working for them. How many public cases have there been where these cops have been set free? They serve and protect but does that mean they should shoot to kill unarmed people?
Let me not hear someone saying that she is trying to profit off the movement. Can you just read the book and let people spread the conversation? Can it not be the whole Lemonade fiasco again, people boycotting it because it’s bashing the police? I can already imagine the talk out there. Ignorance will not get you anywhere, educate yourself on the topic.