The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Format: Audio book
Source: my own Audible collection
Time: 11h 40m
This was one of the most important books I have ever read. And one of the most difficult. The murder of an unarmed child at the hands of a cop is never an acceptable event. Turning around and victim-blaming him, trying to say he was in a gang or was a drug dealer doesn’t make it ok. It doesn’t negate the fact that a cop shot an unarmed child. It doesn’t change the fact that, throughout history, we have been systematically taught that some lives matter more than others.
Star Carter was the sole witness to the death of her childhood friend, Khalil, and is put in a position where she has to decide whether to speak out against the police who killed him, or to stay silent. If she speaks. she will turn the local gang lord against her and her family. If she stays silent, the cop will most certainly be acquitted of any wrong doing and result in race riots in her neighborhood. She also has to decide how much to tell her rich friends at her fancy prep school who could never understand what it is like for her to have grown up in a gang-infested area of town.
This novel was superbly written, if a tad simplistic in some areas. I remind myself it is written for teenagers and move on. Star is a sympathetic character. I want to give her a hug. She has dealt with entirely too many traumas and hardships, and yet it is not an uncommon story. That is the saddest part of all. Teens should be teens, out worrying that their parents are going to catch them having a cigarette or having sex with their boyfriends and girlfriends or ditching school. They shouldn’t have to worry that cops are going to kill them for being black, or that their friends are going to die in their arms on the street, or that their neighbors are going to kill them because they’re gang lords who are trying to keep people from snitching.
My only real gripe with the book was that I would have liked for Star to have gotten to confront 115 at the end. I wish the end had been different, but I know too much about history and politics and current events to be surprised by it. It just made me sad.