Listening to The Hate U Give

In honor of the movie adaption of “The Hate U Give” which debuted in theaters this past Friday, I listened to the audiobook of the novel by Angie Thomas. Here’s what I thought and spoiler alert: I was all the way into it!

“The Hate U Give” revolves around the murder of Khalil Harris. Unfortunately, we all have heard the story before: young, black, unarmed and killed by the police. Starr Carter was there when it all went down and she struggles with that fact and that there’s nothing she could have done to prevent what happened. Soon after, she does discover that she can take action by speaking out.

I loved how emotional the read was. Starr says everything you want to say when an unjustified murder happens. I was fighting tears thinking about all the things Khalil will never get to do. All the experiences and opportunities the people he represents will never have. People in power have oppressed us for hundreds of years. It breaks my heart to think of the strides we could have made had we been encouraged instead of beaten down.

There was a very real conversation about interracial relationships that took place in the story as well. Starr is dating a boy who happens to be white, named Chris. She and Chris both attend Williamson, a private high school in a more affluent neighborhood than Garden Heights where Starr lives. Starr has to reconcile her blackness and the oppression of her people with Chris’ whiteness and the inherent privilege that comes with that. It was very interesting, to say the least.

“The Hate U Give” was extremely relatable. At the beginning of the book, there are two different Starrs. Garden Heights Starr and Williamson Prep Starr. This type of dual personality is so common. The idea that you can’t let white people know the real you because of the negative stereotypes they believe to be true so you make yourself more palatable. On the other hand, there’s the age-old adage, too black for the white people but not black enough for the black people. This struggle is definitely hits home. Hopefully, we can all come to the conclusion that blackness is not one thing but many, and all worthy of acceptance.

I couldn’t think of anything that I disliked about this book. It was hard-hitting, timely and exhilarating. It also does a great job of tackling the sickening reality of police brutality in an authentic way without becoming a PSA. I give it a 5 out of 5 Starrs!

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