Hundreds of books are published every year. While many contain great stories, not many survive the test of time. It takes a special kind of story to do just that. Sometimes fiction is just that, but other times, what some perceive as just fiction, is reality for others. A book that tells such a story and will definitely survive the test of time is The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. It is a very important book that gives insight on what it is like to be a black person in America nowadays. Furthermore, as a teacher, I feel like this is a book that should be a mandatory read for pupils everywhere. But I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s take a look at what the book is about.
Once again, I’ve taken this part from GoodReads because my summarising skills are non-existent.
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.
The Hate U Give is a novel that tackles very sensitive topics which are all the more important right now. Black males in the ages of 15-34, are nine times more likely to get killed by the police than other Americans. Not all of them are armed or involved in any criminal activity at the moment of their murder. It’s a racial issue that seems to have become even larger ever since Donald Trump became president.
A confronting story
Prior to reading The Hate U Give, I admit I was very shocked to hear about the senseless murders of victims like Michael Brown, but after it disappeared from the news, I no longer paid as much attention to it. Reading this novel made me realise that black people in America in this case, don’t have an easy life. Although I will never truly be able to understand what it is like to be a minority in a country like the USA, the book gave an impression. It’s not pretty. It is frustrating to not have your voice heard. It is terrible when your life is not valued as much as other lives. And this insight is exactly the reason why everybody should read this book, because it creates more understanding.
The Novel itself
The novel is solely narrated from Starr’s point of view. Because Starr is a teenager, the language in the book is not very difficult, which makes it easy to read. There is no purple prose and nothing is said fancier than anyone would say it in real life. The characters felt very authentic and you can tell the novel was written by a POC author. Often when white authors put a black character in their novels, this character could easily be made white and there would not be a difference. This book oozes black culture, which is why it is such an interesting read.
The Hate U Give perfectly shows the effect a single event can have on so many people. It is mind-blowing and so well-written. Despite the heavy topics, there are also truly funny moments. It shows that even when the world is dark, there is still light if you stay close to the people you love. This is a book that is so emotional, that it will both break your heart and fix it again. An incredible debut that is definitely worth reading.