The Hate U Give (THUG) by Angie Thomas was one of my favourite reads this year.
I am one of those people who need to read a book before watching its movie adaptation. I had never heard of THUG until the movie came out. When I watched the movie trailer and realised it was adapted from a book, I knew I needed to read the book.
And I'm glad I did it.
The Hate U Give is inspired by the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and author Angie Thomas delivered a great story that opens the reader's eyes to the reality of what is going on in the United States in relation to people of colour.
The title of the book is inspired by a Tupac track,
where he says THUG LIFE stands for
"The Hate u Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody".
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Starr Carter is a sixteen-year old black girl who lives in the poverty-stricken neighbourhood of Garden Heights. Her parents however, have worked hard for her to attend one of the most posh prep schools in the suburbs, Williamson prep, attended prevalently by white middle-class and rich students.
So we have two Starrs: Williamson Starr, and Garden Heights Starr.
Her life is not too bad.
She is dating Chris, a white boy from her school. Her mother is a nurse about to be promoted to a role that will earn the family extra money. Her dad, Big Mav, owns the local convenience store, where Starr helps out. When her father was in prison years ago, her uncle Carlos (who happens to be a cop) was her go-to father figure.
The story opens with Starr at a party in the ghetto.
When gunshots fill their air and everyone is running away to safety, she is saved by her best friend Khalil who volunteers to give her a ride back home.
But as they drive back, they are stopped by the police. Khalil steps out of the car at the police officer's command, and as he turns to ask Starr if she's okay, he is shot by the officer.
Starr is the sole witness to this event. When the media goes crazy about this incident, will Starr find her voice and fight for justice for Khalil?
"I’ve seen it happen over and over again: a black person gets killed just for being black, and all hell breaks loose. I’ve tweeted RIP hashtags, reblogged pictures on Tumblr, and signed every petition out there.
I always said that if I saw it happen to somebody, I would have the loudest voice, making sure the world knew what went down.
Now I am that person, and I’m too afraid to speak."
What makes this book a difficult read
When they are pulled over by the police, Starr recites her parents' instructions in her mind, on what to do in such circumstances.
"Starr, you do whatever they tell you to do. Keep your hands visible.
Don't make any sudden moves. Only speak when they speak to you."
This talk happened when she was only a twelve-year-old; it is so disturbing to think that black children in America have to go through this conversation with their parents.
It is sad that they have to be raised and taught to stay away from the police, or they might get killed.
One thing about Starr is that, as mentioned above, she lives in two worlds. Williamson prep and Garden Heights.
The "real" Starr is from Garden Heights. When she's at school though, she has to adapt to ways of talking and behaviours of white people. She can't fully be herself when she's with her friends and boyfriend.
One of her so called "friends" often throws racist comments, and no matter how hard Starr tries to make her realise this, this friend simply does not understand; she is completely oblivious to the impact of her words and her own ignorance.
In The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas mainly focuses on the issues of racism, the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and the lives young black Americans are forced to live.
"I’m no longer Williamson Starr or even Garden Heights Starr. I’m pissed."
Why you should read this book
It's an eye-opener on the current situation in the U.S.
It is not okay to shoot or report on black people simply because they are black.
We live in the 21st century and racism is still a thing. How this is possible, I don't even know, but it's outraging.
I felt so many emotions while reading this book. You know an author has done a good job when he or she is able to boil something inside of you.
The Hate U Give was unputdownable! It's 5/5 stars for me.
Have you read The Hate U Give? Have you seen the movie? What are your thoughts?
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