The Hate U Give
by Angie Thomas
read in March 2017
“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”
It’s kind of pointless to review this book. It’s all everyone is talking about (and rightfully so!) and it has probably been recommended to you over ten times already! Still, I have to add to the praise.
If anyone is wondering: yes, The Hate U Give is definitely worthy of the hype it’s receiving. If any white person is reluctant to pick this up, I’m absolutely side-eyeing you. The Hate U Give is quite possibly the most relevant book I have ever read. I think it’s incredibly brave that Angie Thomas decided to write about a problem that hasn’t been solved yet. Police brutality is very real. The Hate U Give might be a fictional story, but the murders of so many black people aren’t.
Angie Thomas also deserves praise for writing a book that is so unapologetically black. This book wasn’t written to please white people and therefore doesn’t sugar-coat anything. Furthermore, Thomas isn’t afraid to voice the anger people feel.
The family dynamics and their relationships were probably my favourite part of the book. Starr’s family isn’t perfect, but they seem so very realistic. It breaks my heart to hear that Starr is used to hearing gunshots in her neighbourhood. No child should have to go through that, and especially not grow used to it.
Even though this book deals with such serious topics, it still managed to make me laugh out loud multiple times!
The white people in this book pissed me off! Why are we so horrible?! They only pretended to support the Black Lives Matter movement so they could get the day off at school. It made me so angry and that’s why white people have to read this book as well. It baffles me that some people use “Blue Lives Matter” hashtag, but fail to see why black lives matter. First of all, blue lives don’t exist. Second of all, just because you are a cop, doesn’t mean you can’t be racist. And police officers are protected by law much more than people of colour. I’m the daughter of a police officer, so when the Black Lives Matter movement just started, I felt uncomfortable. Though I do not live in the United States, I was in denial. I didn’t want to believe that the police would target black people like that. But so many black people have lost their lives already! And there have been little to no consequences for the murderers! So how can people not realise that the Black Lives Matter movement is indeed necessary? I’m sorry, I’m ranting!
Talking about white people: I didn’t like Chris. Right from the start, we learn that he did a very shitty thing to Starr. Even though she was able to forgive him, I couldn’t. He came across as a white straight boy who tried to be black. Furthermore, I find it kind of unbelievable that such a privileged boy would support Starr unconditionally. Have y’all seen the people who support Donald Trump? Boys like Chris fit right in. Chris tried too hard, it just didn’t seem genuine to me. I don’t know, maybe it’s because he reminds me of my ex. He also watched The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and listened to a lot of rap music, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be racist.
And that’s why I struggle with Hailey being the biggest racist in this book, besides the cop who killed Khalil, of course. Yes, women can absolutely be racist as well, but there wasn’t a lot of racism coming from white men in this book and that just doesn’t add up. Whenever I hear people say racist shit, it’s 90 percent of the time coming from white men. You have no idea how many of them use the N-word over here, even though they very well know they shouldn’t say it. They’re cool with listening to rap music and love watching comedies with black actors, but as soon as black people need support, they’re gone. Like the book said:
“It’s dope to be black until it’s hard to be black.”
Anyway, I’m ranting again. Back to Hailey. She is the only character who is described as a feminist, though Starr refers to it as “feminist rages”. Feminism isn’t feminism unless it is intersectional. I think it’s great that Angie Thomas showed us that. But since no other female character calls herself a feminist, the book almost vilifies feminists. On top of that, there was some unnecessary girl-on-girl hate in the book. Even though this isn’t a recurring theme, it isn’t addressed. Models are called “toothpicks”, so there’s body-shaming. And they referred to other girls as “hoes”. And I already mentioned the “feminist rages” part. Like I said though, there isn’t much girl-on-girl hate besides that. Do not let this stop you from picking up the book! I only mentioned it because I always mention things I don’t like in my reviews.
Having said that, Hailey was absolutely terrible! I’m absolutely not making any excuses for her. I wanted to slap her!
Conclusion: The writing is great, the characters’ voices sound so genuine and even though the premise is so sad, this book managed to be entertaining as well! I cannot wait to see what Angie Thomas writes next! This book is phenomenal and very unique, so you should definitely read this if you haven’t yet!