The Hate U Give (ebook)
by Angie Thomas
Starr is a 16-year old girl. She is black but attends a predominantly white (private) school, and lives in Garden Heights, a poor neighborhood with gangs, drugs, poverty, and a tight community. Starr’s father is a former gang member who wants better for his children, but one night, Starr attends a party and she and her friend are pulled over by a white cop on their way home. Her friend, Khalil, is shot and she is the witness. Starr struggles with both internal and external conflicts as she makes the decision to testify against the cop. This book brings to mind the recent (and not so recent) shootings and examples of police brutality that have been in the news. It is a fictional story with fictional characters, but it is reality for many, many people.
What I liked about this book was Starr’s character. I felt like she was well-written, and I appreciate that this topic was written in a manner in which others will learn and be educated without it being shoved down their throats. I am assuming people of all races and belief systems will be reading it, not just those represented in its pages. I am a 30-something year old white lady. I’m not friends with any gang members (other than former students’ parents) and I don’t live in a particularly dangerous neighborhood, so I can appreciate that I was able to see this problem through Starr’s eyes. I think bringing awareness is one reason to read diverse literature.
What I didn’t like about this book was the way I was constantly questioning myself and what I do. I don’t think anyone says, “Yeah, I’m racist,” including myself, but reading this book made me wonder if I stereotype or would think the things Starr’s classmates thought, like seeing a person as a gang member and not a friend, brother, son, etc. I’m sure I generalize, and it was a good reminder to judge people and situations for what they are individually. My children are mixed-race, and I don’t want them to see one race differently than the other. It also made me feel old, because Starr’s parents were listening to music that I listened to, and she kept calling them old.
Book 57 of 40 (40 Book Challenge)