The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give Little Infants F’s Everybody. I am embarrassed to say that I didn’t understand this title at first. I thought, “Why the U? Text talk is so mid-2000’s.” But then Khalil explains it, and Starr explains it, and Big Mav explains it, and I think I get it. Or at least, I understand it as much as I possibly can as a Chinese girl from Canada.

Synopsis

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, Khalil’s death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Starr’s best friend at school suggests he may have had it coming. When it becomes clear the police have little interest in investigating the incident, protesters take to the streets and Starr’s neighborhood becomes a war zone. 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 destroy her community. It could also endanger her life.

Review

The Hate U Give Little Infants F’s Everybody. I am embarrassed to say that I didn’t understand this title at first. I thought, “Why the U? Text talk is so mid-2000’s.” But then Khalil explains it, and Starr explains it, and Big Mav explains it, and I think I get it. Or at least, I understand it as much as I possibly can as a Chinese girl from Canada.

This book is IMPORTANT and relevant and urgent. It is a plea and a call to action. It draws attention to injustice everywhere. I have always been sympathetic to the Black Lives Matter Movement, but I definitely did not understand it to this extent. I didn’t realize the extent to which institutions are set up against young black people based on nothing but birth lottery. I am not Chris, but I am not Hailey either. As America leans further and further away from the freedoms it purports to offer, young people need someone like Angie Thomas to help them realize some important lessons:

• You can riot, but you may hurt your own people in the collateral damage.
• You can always make good choices.
• You can still have fun and enjoy life’s simple pleasures.
• Your voice matters.
• YOU matter.

I never experienced as much racism as I have since going on exchange in Europe. It’s an eye-opening experience to see that one of the most “progressive” places in the world can be behind in so many ways. And yet I’m still pretty lucky: people look at me, and inherently think I’m innocent and trustworthy. People seek to protect me or help me when they can. I don’t know what it’s like to be held up by airport security based on the colour of my skin. I don’t know what it’s like to have people secure their valuables as I walk by.

There are so many important issues in the world. This book gives readers a taste of a lot of them, and I’m sure people will take away different lessons based on their background and personal experiences. The most important thing is to read, understand, and help others do the same. No two persons ever read the same book.

Related Reading

  • White Privilege II – Macklemore ft. Jamila Woods (song)
  • Straight Outta Compton (2015 film)
  • Something in Between – Melissa de la Cruz
  • The Sun is Also a Star – Nicola Yoon
  • Perfect Chemistry – Simone Elkeles

Rating: 5/5

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