Thursday 3 August 2017

Book ~ "The Hate U Give" (2017) Angie Thomas

From Goodreads ~ Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life. 

Starr is 16-years-old and lives in a poor neighbourhood where her father owns a store.  To give them a better chance in life, she and her brother are sent to a prep school where she is only one of two black students.  At school, she acts one way to fit in with her mostly white rich friends, including her white boyfriend, and acts another when she is in her 'hood.

Starr is at a party one night with her neighbourhood friends when a fight breaks out.  She and her childhood friend, Khalil, take off in his car.  They are stopped by a cop for speeding and a broken tail light.  Minutes later, Khalil is shot and killed and the cop claims it was self-defense.  Because it was a white cop killing a black kid, the story gains attention, especially when it comes out that Khalil was allegedly a drug dealer and a gang member.  Starr is the only one who knows what really happened that night.  If she tells the truth, it could cause riots.  If she doesn't tell the truth, no one will protect Khalil's memor

This was an interesting book to read as I'm not black, I'm not a teen and have never experienced racism ... so I don't think I was the target audience.  The author seemed to be pro-black (and there's nothing wrong with that) but anti-white and anti-cop.  With no experience in these matters, I don't know how close to reality the book was.  All the white characters were rich, privileged, ate bean casseroles and couldn't dance while the black characters lived in the ghetto, were in gangs, sold drugs, had been in prison and carried guns.  While I liked the story, there was something about the writing style that didn't allow me to read it as quickly as I usually do.  Part of the reason, I think, is because conversations were written phonetically and used lingo.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

I liked the characters.  I liked the interactions between Starr and Mike, her boyfriend.  When they weren't fighting and he wasn't anti-white and anti-cop, I liked Starr's mother and father.  There was a complicated family structure and everyone seemed to care for and take care of everyone.

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