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Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas


       When I started this book I knew I would have mixed feelings about it, I already have mixed feelings about books tackling tough and serious topics such as racism in a fictitious way. And as soon as I started reading this book I got around three different reactions from people on goodreads, people seemed to either have loved it, disliked it, or they were just curious on what I would think of it.
         Because of my mixed emotions and the touchiness of this subject, this post will be a little long, sorry:


The Hate U Give is about sixteen-year-old Starr Carter, a girl who lives almost two different lives. She is torn between the fancy almost all white prep school that she goes to, and her poorer black neighborhood. The story really starts when Starr witnesses the shooting of her best friend, Khalil, at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Starr is devastated, angered, and horrified when her friend’s death becomes a national headline and people start calling him a thug, a drug dealer, and a gangbanger. Even Starr’s best friend at school tells her that it was what he probably deserved and that he had it coming. After it becomes clear that the police have very little interest in investigating Khalil’s death, people start protesting in the streets, and Starr’s world quickly becomes a war zone. Starr wants to speak up for her dead friend, but her words could endanger her life, ruin her relationships, and crush everything she holds dear… will she remain silent or fight for what was lost?
First off, let’s get the content covered:
There was a lot of swearing, suggestiveness, crudeness, and the talk of how far Starr and her boyfriend went one time. It felt unnecessary (y’all know my feelings about swearing and crudeness in YA). The first chapter was really crass, so much that I ended up skimming it, since it takes place at a party (yes, that kind of party). Honestly, if you’re planning on reading this book, I’d recommend just skipping the first chapter, since it really only begins to introduce the characters of this book and the story really starts in the second chapter.









 Now, onto the rest of the post:

Obviously, from reading what this book is about and the fact that it is all fictional and only inspired by recent shootings and events, The Hate U Give is bound to step on a few toes, including mine.  And all though I liked it overall, I only gave it three stars. One was taken off for the swearing and the sexual themes, and the other for the fact that I feel that this book was missing something… okay, a few things.

The first thing is Khalil’s death, which is super sad, but I did have a few problems with how the police were portrayed.


Are there racist police? If I’m going to ask that I might as well point at a random Starbucks and ask, are there jerks in there? Because, yes, 100% yes. Sadly, the world we live in is broken, and everyone else is broken along with it. I’m not here trying to say that there aren’t racist police officers and that racism is dead, because, let’s be real; it’s not.

But when you’re writing a fictitious story about racism among the police-the people who are in charge of protecting civilians and deserve our respect and obedience, it’s such a delicate and sensitive topic that I’m not sure if anyone will ever be able to write on it perfectly with no bias whatsoever. It’s really hard for me even to explain my thoughts on this topic in the book, so let’s just look at Khalil’s shooting scene (warning for younger readers, this scene is a bit graphic):

‘The officer walks back to his patrol car.

My parents haven’t raised me to fear the police, just to be smart around them. They told me it’s not smart to move while a cop has his back to you.

Khalil does. He comes to his door.

It’s not smart to make a sudden move.

“You okay, Starr—”

Pow!

One. Khalil’s body jerks. Blood splatters from his back. He holds on to the door to keep himself upright.

Pow!

Two. Khalil gasps.

Pow!

Three. Khalil looks at me, stunned.

He falls to the ground.’ (pg. 23).










       This scene on its own wasn’t wrong, but afterwards Starr really struggles with the fact that Khalil was shot even though he wasn’t doing anything besides checking on her, she believes that if a white person opened a car door that they wouldn’t have been shot three times.

Now, I also struggled with this. Would a white person get shot if they did the same thing? After some thought and a few flashbacks to some news stories, I realized, yes, absolutely.

1. When a police officer asks you to stay were you are and turns his back to you, he is exposing himself, and as Starr said, it isn’t smart to move while a cop has their back to you.

2. Police officers deal with a lot of mental people, every time they pull someone over they do not know if this person has a gun or not, thus they have very little tolerance for disobedience, because they never know if the person they pulled over is going to try to harm or kill them.

3. Khalil opened the door, and it later says that he had a hairbrush in the door, which Starr and her family use to protest saying, “A hairbrush isn’t a gun!” and while it’s not, if you’re a police officer and you tell someone to stay put, but instead they turn, open their car door, and you see a flash of metal in that door, what are you going to think? Not to mention that Khalil was arguing with the policeman beforehand.
Altogether, this is a recipe for a tragic outcome.

4. In the book Starr questions why the cop had to shoot her friend three times, and why he had to kill him. Couldn’t he just have wounded him?

      Yes, but no. In self-defense, you are taught that if someone has a weapon and is trying to attack you that you need to take them out, because wounding them isn’t enough to ensure that they still aren’t going to pull out their gun and shoot you or come after you. If you think someone is trying to kill or harm you, especially with a weapon like a gun, you are taught to shoot to kill. It’s sad that such measures must be taken, but with all of the high, drunk, and insane people on the streets these days, you never know what people are thinking.

The shooting itself wasn't a racial issue, however, the police officer claiming that Khalil told Starr that he was going to get him and lying to make Khalil seem like a thug was.


And I did take into account that Starr is a sixteen-year-old girl, who just watched her friend get shot right before her eyes by a person, who is supposed to be a protector when she knew that he was doing nothing wrong. Her anger is honestly only normal, she saw something that she felt was a horrible injustice, but I do wish the book had more reasoning on Khalil's death, especially because it's a FICTITIOUS book, that is putting men of honor in this bad light.
I kind of expected this knot to never be fully tied up, Khalil’s death would be written as an injustice, and in a way, it is, as I said before it is really sad that the world is the way it is, and that police need to use extra force.

A lot of people were saying that this book was hateful towards the police, and after reading The Hate U Give, I really don’t think that hate towards the force was meant, but I did feel like she accidently put the whole police force in a bad light because that’s how Starr ended up seeing them, and I was sad that it was never really resolved. There is a conversation between Starr’s father and uncle where her uncle tells her father that not all cops are bad, and her father agrees, but I still felt like two sentences of, “oh, wait, not all cops are racist.” didn't tie it up enough in 444 pages of misplaced righteous anger.

I say “misplaced righteous anger” because I felt like Starr and her friends and family had every right to be upset, but rowdy protests full of anger, fear, and hate is not the way to go, and I didn’t care for the positive light that protesting was put in, especially fighting back at the police.










  As for the word of discrimination towards white people, there were a few scenes that were the prime examples of reverse racism, but in the end they did start to realize their hypocrisy. But sadly, the fact they got offended with the white people when they made stereotypical jokes and then made stereotypical jokes about white people themselves really tarnished the overall message.



When I finished this book I just sat for a moment and thought. A lot of my friends really liked this book, and in a way, I do think that the heart of this book was in the right place, it was meant to show us the perspective of people like Starr and her family. And I learned a lot about how some people view the world, which I think is good, even though I don’t exactly agree with everything, I can’t validly disagree with something until I understand.

      And I think that this book was good for me to read, even though I didn't agree with the activism in this book, I think it's important to see how other people think. I am glad I read this, I really am. I may never understand the thinking behind protesting, because when has anger and hate ever solved anything? But it was good for me to read how a lot of people get involved in stuff like this.

But I just sat there, and for the next few days I just thought about the biggest thing that I felt this book was missing, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, until it came to me…

Unity and love.

There was some unity, but not enough for the end of this sobering book. There was just so little hope, and maybe that was the point, but I just felt that it was needed. I really wish this book didn’t end in anger, powerful anger, yes, but where was the hope for more than just hate and hypocrisy?  

In light of this more depressing review, here are some great videos for the thought:






Whew! That felt good to get off my chest.

Have you read The Hate U Give?

What did you think?

Will you be reading it?

DISCLAIMER: I wrote this review because I had friends and family that wanted to know what I thought, and these were my honest and perfectly blunt thoughts. You may disagree with me, but any hateful comments will be deleted. This is my blog and I have every right to delete your comment if I need to, thank you, and have a nice day.

31 comments:

  1. We All Bleed the Same is one of the greatest songs ever. It couldn't have come at a better time. That's the Lord's timing for you!

    This was a great review, Gray. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. The amount of respect you showed is impressive.

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    1. It really is, it's one of my new found favorites.

      Thank you, I tried my best.

      Delete
  2. This review was so well worded. I still feel like literature like this is what drives people further and further apart, but everything you said is because you read it. I haven't and I don't if I will just because I don't want that negativity in my reading.

    You were so respectful and you looked at it from both sides, something most people have a hard time doing.

    I know some people might give you hate here or on GR, but just know you have so many people standing with you. I'm standing with you. Thank you for this amazing review. Have an awesome day!

    ~Ivie

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. I do agree with you on that, but I also think that it's good to read books like this sometimes, because it shows you a different perspective.

      It is a bit of a negative read, so if you do decide to pick it up, be warned.

      Thanks!<3

      Delete
  3. This is one of the best book reviews I have ever read. Just... wow. I have seen so much about this book, and I never intend to read it, but your thoughts on it were very clear, and interesting, and respectful, and I just love it. <3

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    Replies
    1. Aww, thank you! That means a lot to me, I spent a long time trying to write this. <3

      Delete
  4. I've actually never heard of this book before, and I probably won't ever get around to reading it, but I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on it! I try really hard to just stay out of politics altogether (though it is useful to at least know what's going on in the world). I just prefer to stand on the sides and pray for everything. It may not be much, but I am praying to a powerful God, who can do a lot more than me.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Julian. It's really wise to stay out of politics to be honest, and praying is so powerful.

      Delete
  5. I concur with a lot of people here, Gray. Your review was beautifully worded and wonderfully honest.

    I get upset too when people disrespect the police force. While I don't have any family members that are in the force, I still admire them greatly (and enjoy watching cop shows, let's be honest).

    There definitely needs to be more understanding about the self-defense point of view because it is so misunderstood (unless you've studied it).

    Catherine
    catherinesrebellingmuse.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you!

      Same here, and we most certainly need more understanding on basic self-defense.

      Delete
  6. Hmm I think I may read this if I have time just to see how this issue is portrayed. I mean, sure there ARE some bad cops, but I HATE to see all police portrayed as bad. And I want to see how it's done in here. I want to see how racism is portrayed. I heard someone say once, "there are 2 black people shot per week by police! That's horrible!" but what about those 16 other people shot by police a week too that are not black? Isn't that just as horrible? And how about those one or two cops killed per week in action? Who thinks about that??

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Unfortunately, the issue was rather one dimensional in this book, but it is good for the thought, nonetheless.

      I hate it too, the hostility towards police is definitely unneeded and wrong.

      Delete
  7. Thank you for posting this. Truly I know and are good friends who are cops and its just like people... Just because some police officers are racists or just plain mean people doesn't mean all of them are. Just because the first few African American people you meet are mean doesn't mean all of them are like that. I believe that people are broken and sadly hate is all around us. Its not just racists but its religions. Its a battle of who is right and who is wrong and who is high and who is low. Good vs evil and unlike fairytales they dont end happily ever after.. This was great thank you Gray

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Yes, it's very sad and wrong on both sides. Although, I do think we get a happily ever after in the end, those who seek him shall find him after all. :)

      You're welcome, thanks for reading. <3

      Delete
  8. You worded this review so well, Gray! I was tempted for a minute to say I didn't know very much about this issue, given I live in a different political climate (which is probably true), but I'm sure it is a book with a serious topic, that should be considered by all. I'm sad to hear the two sides to the issue could have been fleshed out more, but I understand how difficult that can be in writing. Thank you for being brave enough to share your thoughts!

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    1. Thank you!

      I can see that, I'm sure y'all have your problems too, but it sounds nice to not hear about this all the time.

      Sadly, they weren't, but it is true that it's hard to do so. Angie's writing was beautiful on it's own, if it wasn't for the smut I would probably be on the look out for more works from her.

      Thank you for reading!

      Delete
  9. Rock on Girl! Thanks for writing this review. I'm really glad you did. You did a good job wording what you said and thought. Well done.

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  10. 1. Your blog design is the cutest thing EVER.

    2. thank you so much for this review! I've been looking for a review like this of The Hate U Give, because most people just say, "IT'S AWESOME," and leave it at that. So thank you for really diving into the issue and offering a clearer look inside the story. :)

    katie grace
    a writer's faith

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    1. Awww, thank you! <3

      I saw those reviews, and I didn't understand the thinking behind that, so I figured I needed to elaborate on my own thoughts.

      Delete
  11. I'm pretty sure I looked this book up on Goodreads, and the only reviews I remember went along the lines of "IF YOU DON'T LIKE THIS YOU'RE RACIST". So I was pleased to see such a lovely, well-considered and thoughtful review! I probably won't read the book, because of the content, but it was definitely interesting seeing how you've put forward both sides of the debate in a polite and respectful manner!. :D
    - Jem Jones

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    1. Ah, I saw those, highly illogical because there are obviously other reasons to dislike it (language for one), and secondly, rude, much?! Seriously, people. -_-
      So I totally know what you mean!

      Aw, thanks!! I tried. ^-^

      Delete
  12. This sounds like a very interesting book. Thanks for sharing your ideas and input! I agree with all the points you made. :-)

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    1. It is, and you're welcome, thanks for reading!

      Delete
  13. Thank you for the awesome review! To be honest, these types of subjects tend to be very stressful. I don't think it's the right time for this book. Thanks again for this, I really appreciate it! :)

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    1. You're welcome!

      Agreed. Do what's best for you!

      Delete
  14. Thanks for this review! I haven't read The Hate U Give, and I'm not planning to, at least until some of the hype and craziness that's surrounding it at the moment wears off.
    Having said that, I sometimes feel that these sorts of books only will drive a deeper wedge. It's still using labels like "black" and "White" it's still "us" and "them". I also really dislike when people go on and on about the unjust shootings of black people. It *is* unjust and it is a tragedy when an innocent black teenager is shot, but it's also a tragedy when an innocent white person is.
    I also liked what you said about self-defence. I've often pondered that, especially when you see police officers being treated so horribly and harshly after shooting someone in self-defence.
    I think, overall, this book handles topics I don't really want to get dragged down by right now, but I definitely enjoyed your review :D

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thank you for reading!

      That's totally understandable, and yes, I feel the same. Although they can have a positive effect by showing different sides of stories, books like these have a habit of never trying to bring people together.

      Self-defense is such a touchy thing because lots of people don't understand it. It is sad how officers are treated.

      I can't blame you, it's not one of those easy books to read because of the controversy.

      Delete
  15. Gray, thank you so much for your honest review. All your thoughts are really well put. I saw this at my library, and I was sort of wondering about it, so I was happy to find such a great review of it! I agree that in this kind of a book, they need more unity and love.

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    1. Books that make you think are good. I might or might not read this, probably not because of the content.

      Delete
    2. Aw, you're welcome! <3
      Thank you.

      Yes, that's so true.
      I wish you the best in whatever you decide to do. <3

      Delete

Hi, wonderful human bean.
I am so happy that you took time out of your day to share your thoughts with me! :)
But please,
• Be kind • Be respectful • No swearing •
I will do my best to reply!

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