Angie Thomas‘ debut novel, The Hate U Give about the Black Lives Matter movement. Now before you say All Lives Matter, and that Black Lives Matter is a militant group etc, I implore you to dig a bit into what exactly ‘Black Lives Matters’ means. Thomas’ book is a good start for those wanting to further understand what the movement really means.
The title comes from Tupac Shakur’s explanation of what Thug Life means: “The Hate U Give Little Infants F***s Everybody.” Now, some may be confused, but what Tupac says is that, “What you feed us as seeds, grows and blows up in your face.”
The story follows Starr Carter, a black girl, trying to navigate life in an impoverished neighborhood, while attending a prep school in a white neighborhood. Starr’s childhood friend is murdered by a police officer one night. Starr witnesses everything while sitting in the car with Khalil; but will her voice and testimony change anything? Will speaking up influence a decision?
Starr is thrown in the middle of what many of us only experience on television and through cell phone recorded videos. Starr’s story takes place in a world where everyone can join in the conversation through social media and the internet.
This book is funny, heart-wrenching, real, and above all – reminiscent of today. Time and time again, unarmed black men and women are killed by police – with the police officer getting off with nothing more than a slap on the wrist. For example – Eric Garner, who was choked to death by law enforcement while gasping, “I can’t breathe.” The police officer was not indicted, even though the medical examiner ruled it a homicide.
Thomas’ novel explores the dialogue of the families dealing with the murder of their loved one and she gives us an inside look, through Starr, at complicated family issues, interracial love, friendship, racism, and above all – growing up in this day and age.
At over 450 pages, The Hate U Give is a quick read, full of information that will make you think, laugh, and relate. This book is predominately about race, racial tensions, and life as a black girl, but it is also a strikingly truthful narrative about our time. Thomas encourages us to speak up even when it seems like the most dangerous and difficult thing to do.
If there’s anything you need on your 2017 reading list, it’s The Hate U Give. And with the news that Amandla Stenberg will play Starr Carter in the movie adaptation, you’re going to want to read this ASAP.
The Hate U Give is due out February 28th. Read an excerpt here.
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