Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Imagine watching someone shoot your best friend. The friend you grew up with. Imagine if that same person then kept a gun pointed at you until an ambulance arrived. Imagine if this wasn't the first time that you'd seen one of your closest friends shot.

Imagine if the person wielding the gun was a cop.

That's the premise of The Hate U Give.

Starr is a sixteen-year-old from the Garden District, a poor area, regarded by many as a ghetto. Her parents have found a way to send her and her brothers to a private school forty-five minutes away from home that's filled mostly with wealthy white kids. From the age of ten, Starr has found that she acts one way at school, and another at home, but when Starr's best friend Khalil, is shot by a police officer, she finds herself struggling, not only with a huge sense of injustice at the tragedy that has occurred, but with the idea that perhaps she hasn't been as true to herself and the people she loves as she could have been. The Hate U Give cleverly breaks down stereotypes about life in the ghetto while telling the story of a young woman who, in the midst of a heartbreaking and unjust situation, finds her voice.

This was a heartbreaking read, one that offered an insight into a side of America that we don't hear much about in Australia and when we do, I suspect that it isn't always portrayed accurately. Where police officers can make poor choices, where not everyone is equal, where well, things like this can happen. I found myself reaching for google to understand some of the idioms and cultural references.