The Hate You Give
The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas has left me numb and anguish for hours. I remember once my friend commented niggers in a disdainful manner after seeing an extremely dark complexion person at Delhi International Airport. I was shocked, but didn’t protest against his racist remark. Now, after reading the book The Hate You Give I am upset with myself that why I remained silent.
I was aware about racism in America. Even the President Barack Obama and his family were not spared. But not to the extent that there are radical racial riots and violence. That there is discrimination up to the level the life of black people doesn’t even count. This is the major crust of the novel The Hate You Give that Black Life Matters.
After reading the book I couldn’t stop myself from searching about Emmett Louis Till, Oscar Grant and others who became the victim of the racist mentality of few white people. The book The Hate You Give is definitely a literary impetus to the cause of Black Life Matters Movement and generates worldwide awareness about racism.
There is one more name which I googled- Tupac. He finds mention in the story, creating revolutionary ripples among the characters. Tupac was a great rapper, actor, hip hop artist and above all an activist and a champion of Black cause. The title of the book has been inspired from his famous line THUG LIFE which stands for The Hate You Give Little Infant F*** Everyone.
These are so true words, valid even today. This is the way things will always work out. What the society sows, so society reaps.
By this time you must have realized that the story is hugely inspired by Black Life Matter Movement and of course Tupac. The plot also draws heavily from Angie Thomas own real life experiences and observation. All these together gives that realistic touch to the novel that you will instantly feel connected with the cause of the Black people and next time you will surely despise any racist comment.
Now something about the story.
The story is about a Black protagonist Starr Carter, who witnessed a white cop brutality, when her childhood best friend Khalil had been murdered in cold blood with no apparent fault or provocation. He was also unarmed. Khalil was denied justice as if his life doesn’t have any value. In fact, his murder was justified citing that he was a drug dealer, a thug.
Starr supported by family and friends, fighting her own demons, raised her voice against the injustice which creates uproar among the black community. Would the justice prevails. Well, read the book to find.
The author has given enough voice to the sentiments, hurt feelings and anger of the black characters in the novel. Her young teen Black characters clearly gives out the message that people from white community are feeding hatred to the younger ones from the black community, which they will ultimately get in return.
There are many things which I loved about the book.
The author is not biased at all. She refrained from labeling. In fact, she encourages you to see both sides of the coin before you form an opinion and express it
If there are bad white cops then there are good ones as well. If there are people like Hailey (Starr’s white bestie) who insist she was not racist yet she supports injustice meted out to African-American.
Then there are also people like Chris (Starr’s white boyfriend) who stands for the cause of Khalil. In other words the world is not black and white.
The author doesn’t support violence, drug selling or gang-banger in which many people from black community were involved, but all she wants to hear Khalil’s story before forming any opinion.
Khalil was a drug dealer but he hated drugs. So what made him do so? He was not a bad guy just a black guy. On the fateful night, he was not breaking any rules, wasn’t carrying any arms, was not provoking in any manner. So given the circumstances was his murder by a white cop could be justified. He should have been given a chance to put forward his side of story before judging him or the entire black community.
The author has infused life into each and every character in a way which even seasoned authors doesn’t manage. She was bang on target.There are backstory for each character which seamlessly takes the story forward and you will be acquainted with them in and out. Reading, The Hate You Give was like walking and breathing with all the characters.
All her characters were so realistic and well etched. They talked and behaved exactly the way they should. Young teens were using Tumblr. Follow and unfollow matters them a lot. They rap and were full of life. Starr was passionate about basketball and she loves sneaker.
Narrative and Dialogues
The author Angie Thomas has struck a perfect balance between narrative and dialogues. Together they made a great read.
Narrative has been written in the first person from Starr’s point of view. The author Angie Thomas has used her voice to express the feelings of the Black community, their world and life, challenges and problems, their anguish and insecurity.
But it is the conversations which actually take the story forward and are the real strength of the book. The dialogues were engaging, lively, to the point, short and realistic. The way the characters converse, I think we all talk in the similar manner in our real life as well.
Let me share some of my favorite lines from the book. They inspired me, hit me hard, showed me the way.
“Brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared. It means you go on even though you’re scared.”
“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”
“At an early age I learned that people make mistakes, and you have to decide if their mistakes are bigger than your love for them.”
“Angie I can’t change where I come from or what I’ve been through, so why should I be ashamed of what makes me, me?”
“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”
Moments of Laughter
It is a heavy read. But life is not all about problems and tears, it is sometimes about laughter and fun as well. The book has its share of light moments as well, which further makes this book believable. I particularly loved scenes where Starr and her family discusses Harry Potter theory, the catfish scene, prayer times a few to mention, fun arguments between the parents, conversation between parents and children.
Starr’s family is the way family’s are in India. Children have grown up but parents are still the guiding force. Everyone watches each other back.
The characters and their stories are all so real like a slice of life. The Hate You Give is the most meaningful, provocative and powerful YA novel I have read till date.
Angie Thomas was born, raised, and still resides in Jackson, Mississippi as indicated by her accent. She is a former teen rapper whose greatest accomplishment was an article about her in Right-On Magazine with a picture included. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Belhaven University and an unofficial degree in Hip Hop. She is an inaugural winner of the Walter Dean Myers Grant 2015, awarded by We Need Diverse Books.
Angie Thomas Books
Angie Thomas is definitely an author to watch out for if you love reading YA novels. She is young and perceptive, exactly understands people around her, their tribulation and through her writing trying to give all clamoring a concrete voice.
She has done that with The Hate You Give.
On The Come Up
Her next release is On The Come Up where she will be portraying the story of a young black protagonist trying to leave a mark in the world of rappers.