This review is not like other reviews, I’ve written three different reviews for this book and deleted them all because I felt none have done this book justice. The feeling I had when reading ‘The Hate U Give’ was anger. Let me explain.
This book is written from the perspective of Starr, a teenager who watched her friend die in a drive-by shooting at age 10 and was a witness to the killing of another friend by a policeman at 16.
Once upon a time there was a hazel-eyed boy with dimples. I called him Khalil. The world called him a thug.
He lived, but not nearly long enough, and for the rest of my life I’ll remember how he died.
It tells the reality of thousands of youths living in black communities in a cycle of poverty, violence and hopelessness. The title is based on Tupac Shakur’s explanation of Thug Life….The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody.
The Hate U—the letter U—Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody. T-H-U-G L-I-F-E. Meaning what society give us as youth, it bites them in the ass when we wild out.
This book was written by Angie Thomas and is her debut novel, and is an excellent piece of work. Ms. Thomas shook and broke the entire table with this book.
Police Brutality and racism is a very divisive topic and I love it when young people come out and talk about issues like these.
Some have referred to the book as a black lives matter novel and they aren’t completely wrong. It’s a book that tackles the peculiar challenges black people face in the American society.
The major theme of this book is racism – The institutional and systematic oppression of black people is exactly what Starr wants to fight. Included is the soft racism faced by Starr in her all white upscale school.
Police Brutality – Is a huge part of the racism earlier mentioned. It’s just unfortunate that the people tasked with protecting the populace are the same ones oppressing and killing them. This is not just in America, it’s also very rampant here in Nigeria. It’s so awful that I have no words on the subject.
This book talks about the hopelessness a lot of kids are born into. They are born into an environment filled with drugs, crime and poverty. They have such limited choices that hunger and poverty often pushes them into violence and crime. It’s an unfortunate cycle of hopelessness that very few are able to break away from.
Starr’s dual existence between her life in the black neighbourhood and her life in school reminds me of Gabrielle Union’s ‘We are going to need more wine’ and the TV series ‘Everybody hates Chris’. At school she was cool and tried to call as little attention to her ‘blackness’ as possible lest she be termed “The angry black girl”.
My favorite character is Starr, the protagonist of this novel. I loved watching her grow and mature in her choices and decisions. I liked most of the characters in this novel, Ms. Scott did very well in developing the characters.
This book also tackles the dilemma faced by people in a problematic society. To leave and find a better life or stay and fight the system? An argument can be made for both but I’m pro leave and find a better life.
Therefore, I loved the decision taken by Starr’s parents, take the children out of the rot and give them a better life then they’ll be better equipped to fight the rotten system.
I also got something from Starr’s “friend” Hailey, sometimes we can be unintentionally racist, sexist or tribalistic. Our privilege can blind us to the problems faced by others.
However, ignorance can no longer be an excuse. When a group is talking about their issues, I need to set my privilege aside and empathize. If I’m unable to empathize, then it’s better to be quiet than to be insensitive to the suffering of others. That I cannot relate to their problems does not mean those problems do not exist.
I have so much more to say about this book but I can’t find the words. I only wish this review was more cohesive.
rate this book 4 stars out of 5. I would totally read it again.
Have you read this book? What are your thoughts on racism? Police brutality? Please share in the comments. Thank you.