Arts + Culture

Review: The Hate U Give

Hoooo boy.

I’ve sat here staring at this blank word document for a while. I don’t really know where to start. I think the only thing I can really say is: Wow.

The Hate U Give is a novel by Angie Thomas, set to come out on February 28th, 2017. I got an early copy through a guest speaker from HarperCollins that spoke to my class. Super quick side note: I LOVE FREE BOOKS. Bigger side note: I love free books that are this incredible.

The Hate U Give is about a teenager named Starr who witnesses her childhood best friend get shot by a cop. The novel is directly influenced and inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement – and it shows. It does a damn good job of showing a lot of the issues that black people have to face in our society, where some people claim that racism doesn’t exist anymore. Spoiler alert: it does.

Although I’m not black, I related to Starr in some aspects of her life. I’m not going to list them out because I don’t need y’all up in my business, but the biggest thing is: she deals with her friends making racist comments towards her and about her community. I think she deals with it pretty well by calling them out on it. This is what I do as well, and sometimes it can backfire. Sometimes you look like the crazy one – “I can’t believe you think I’m racist!” – and sometimes you get called “too sensitive” when you call them out. It’s annoying. Starr thinks it’s annoying, and disrespectful, and I respect her for that.

The novel follows her journey as she comes to terms with her feelings about police officers in direct correlation to her race, a supreme court ruling, and attempting to save her friends and family from a gang. There is not one single plotline that I think should’ve been taken out – everything Starr goes through in The Hate U Give is important. The novel does an incredible job of showing that black people who live in a “ghetto” are not all thugs, which should be obvious to anyone with a brain, but unfortunately there are still idiots everywhere.

Thomas’ characters are well thought-out and complex, all of them having flaws, which makes the book so, so easy to read. I sped right through it because the characters came to life and acted everything out in front of me. I just had to listen.

And just like I listened, you should listen. The Hate U Give is an important novel and it’s being published at a time where race relations are extremely tense. A lot of issues could be avoided if people just shut up and listened, and then learned from what they heard.

In 1966 The Black Panther Party released a document entitled the Ten-Point Program. In it is a set of guidelines to the BPP’s ideals and ways of operation. It was described by Joshua Anderson, author of “A Tension in the Political Thought of Huey P. Newton,” as a “combination of a Bill of Rights and a Declaration of Independence.” Number 7 on that list is as follows:

  1. We want an immediate end to POLICE BRUTALITY and MURDER of Black people.

It is 2017 and police brutality against black people has not ended. I’m not saying that all police are brutalizing black people – isn’t it annoying that I have to clarify that? – but that doesn’t erase the fact that it is still happening. Please do your best to educate yourself and others. Speak up. Be brave like Starr, and speak up.

Please go get this book when it comes out – February 28th, 2017 – and recommend it to everyone you know. The only way that race relations between cops and black people can be fixed is if the rest of us start speaking up and helping, and holding people accountable for their actions.

ANYWAY that got heavy. This book is also quite funny and light at times; I didn’t mention that, but it really is. Thomas is a great writer, and I can’t wait to see what else she’ll write. PLUS The Hate U Give is being turned into a movie with Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games, Mr. Robinson) as Starr, which is super exciting. Stenberg is an incredible actress and activist, and I think she’ll be the perfect lead.


Favourite Quotes:

  1. “Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”
  1. “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?”
  1. “It seems like they always talk about what he may have said, what he may have done, what he may not have done. I didn’t know a dead person could be charged in his own murder, you know?”

If you’d like to read more of my reviews, feel free to visit my blog here.
Happy reading!

Photo credit: Harper Collins

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