It’s been a while since I did a book review so… I just finished The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Even though I love young adult literature, I hadn’t heard of this book until I read about it being banned at our old school district. I don’t believe books should be banned. There is knowledge to be had from the written word even if that knowledge is to shake your head and say, “Damn, that writer is an idiot and this book was trash.” This book is not trash and should be read.
The story revolves around a 16-year-old girl named Starr. She lives in a predominately black community, many would call it the hood. While going home from a party, Starr and a male friend (both black) are pulled over by a white police officer. The male friend is shot by the police officer. The book details the aftermath of the event, what it means for Starr personally and the community where she lives, and how the homicide is dealt with in the local judicial system.
As you can imagine from my description, this is not a happy, beach read. It’s real, gritty and sometimes hard to take but necessary. Incidentally, I listened to this book rather than reading actual pages and I think listening to it made it that much more real. Even though we are different races, I understood what Starr meant when she spoke of her neighborhood and the people in it. I could see the run-down neighborhood my grandmother lived in, where I lived until age 6. In the characters, I saw people I knew from my time there, adults and children from my distant memories. I know of the struggles some of those people have, especially with the police and other authority figures, the preconceived notions on both sides, and how those preconceived notions are tearing those neighborhoods apart. Much like To Kill A Mockingbird did back in the 60s, this book brings to light some hard truths about race and perception. And like good art/literature should, it provides an opportunity to think about the situation and see it from a different point of view, perhaps even start a conversation.
Photo Credit: The photo above is a screenshot of my Goodreads page. Yes, I gave it 5 stars. I rarely give books 5 stars.