The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is one book that can easily be tagged as “The need of the hour”. It tells us a very important story with a tender and poignant voice. There are many things we tend to take for granted in life, and this moving portrayal of #Blacklivesmatter actually shows the extent we do.
Angie Thomas is a Mississippi based writer and this is her first book. The Hate You Give tells us the story of sixteen year old Starr who witnesses two murders, one of a girl on the roadside and the other of her best friend Khalil. Both these incidents leave her scared and scarred till she realizes the gravity of the whole situation and decides to act on it. As a child, it is shocking to witness something so gruesome closely and that too to a best friend. This incident changes her life, in ways she had not imagined. It is much more than just the loss of a friend. It is about seemingly wrong thing made to seem like a right. She is confused whether she should tell the truth or not. She is worried that it might lead to repercussions where her family might get harmed. She is scared they will be targeted for no fault of theirs and end up being at the receiving end. Despite the trauma she undergoes, she takes it all in her stride and fights it head on facing it all bravely. Life as a teen is anyways full of chaos and confusion and when incidents like this happen it is easy to lose focus of the main track, but nothing deters Starr.
Starr comes across as someone who is complex. One moment she is strong and inspiring and then the next moment she is surrounded by self-doubt. Her character was totally relatable because despite all of her complexities and flaws, she was inspiring. Starr, like any other teenage feels misunderstood by everyone around her, including her white boyfriend. She is inspiring in every manner. There are so many things in this book which were refreshingly different, making it an engaging and engrossing read. To start with, the wonderful heartwarming camaraderie Starr shares with her parents. The way her parents trust her and stand by her, is something that every teen in the world wants. Some of the conversations between them actually left me teary eyed while there are a lot of exchanges that made me giggle.
The most interesting aspect of this book would be the way each and every character of the book has an interwoven storyline of theirs with the main storyline. This ensures none of the characters are lost in the oblivion behind the main plot. The author doesn’t sound preachy or try to play the blame game in the narrative; rather she ensures that the message is sent across in an unforgettable manner. Written in an honest voice, the narrative is enjoyable and yet one that makes you ponder on a lot of things for e.g. racism, police violence, corruption, legal system and the flawed society we live in. The language is immensely powerful and it simply flows through the plot.
“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”
This book is as much about racism as much it is about love, kinship, friendship, family, community and loyalty. This book is a heartwarming and at the same a heartbreaking read. It makes you see the ugliness of the society and the reason behind it all. Just like every black person is not a drug dealer, every policeman is not bad. We need more books like this, which take a slice of life to send across a strong, inspiring message to the society.
I thought Thomas did a great job with this book, making sure it wasn’t too heavy-handed in its messaging or too extreme in its plot. She created characters you grew to care about, characters you were invested in, so when pivotal events occurred, you were moved by them. This really blew my mind, and I think this is a book which really deserves all of the hype it is getting.
Several times in the book Starr’s mother uttered the quote, “Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.” I hope The Hate U Give reaches those despairing whether doing the right thing is still worth it even if it doesn’t get the result they want. Because it really, truly is.
Namrata is a lost wanderer who loves travelling the length and breadth of the world. She lives amidst sepia toned walls, fuchsia curtains, fairy lights and shelves full of books. When not buried between the pages of a book, she loves blowing soap bubbles. A published author she enjoys capturing the magic of life in her words and is always in pursuit of a new country and a new story. Connect with her on Twitter: @PrivyTrifles
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