”Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
– Martin Luther King Jr.
If you ask me there is no quote that would describe the essence of “The Hate U Give” better than this one. Heaven knows, to speak up for yourself and your beliefs is never easy, but if you don’t do it your voice won’t be heard and things will continue to go on the way they were before.
It’s a lesson our heroine Starr learns the hard way and it’s a more than just important lesson as well.
”I always said that if I saw it happen to somebody, I would have the loudest voice, making sure the world knew what went down.
Now I am that person, and I’m too afraid to speak.”
I could understand Starr’s internal battle and I could relate to her so much. To admit that she’s the witness, to speak up for Khalil and to say what truly happened… well, it takes guts to take that step. Especially because she was smack in the middle of it all. On the one hand there were the King Lords and the gang members at Garden Heights and on the other hand there was the police. Neither of both sides was all too keen on hearing the truth about what went down that night (and this is putting it mildly), but the truth needed to be heard and I think it was very brave of Starr to find her voice. Truth be told, I actually enjoyed watching her journey.
”Oh, we know the truth, that’s not what we want,” says Daddy. “We want justice.”
Of course her family tried to protect her from harm and wanted to keep her identity anonymous but the more things happened, the harder it got to stay out of it. You might say that Starr eventually ended up in all that mess her family tried to protect her from, but then again it wasn’t really like she had a choice. If your best friend would have been murdered in front of your eyes, if he would have been unarmed, his back to the police officer that shot him, the only thing he did a concerned glance into his car because you were the co-driver and he didn’t want you to get hurt. What would you have done after you held him dying in your arms?
”The truth casts a shadow over the kitchen – people like us in situations like this become hashtags, but they rarely get justice. I think we all wait for that one time though, that one time when it ends right.”
Yes, you would have wanted to get justice too! At least I would have wanted it because there’s nothing in this world that makes me feel more helpless and angry than injustice and the injustice that happened in this book was outrageous!!!
”But Khalil didn’t stay put, did he?” she says.
“He didn’t pull the trigger on himself either.”
I loved Starr so much for that statement alone! There were two police officers interrogating her and all they tried to do was to put the blame on Khalil. Because of course it was his fault that he got shot! He was a drug dealer after all, right? NO!! HELL, NO!!!! Even if he would have been a drug dealer this wouldn’t have made things right! He was unarmed, he didn’t do anything wrong, he only checked on his friend and he had to die for it. THIS IS NOT OKAY!!! THIS IS NOT RIGHT!!! THIS IS WRONG!!! And no matter how much people tried to discredit him, nothing of what they said about him was the truth!!!
”Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”
The truth is that he was just a normal kid, driving home his best friend after they left from a party. End of the story. Or it should have been… What I really liked about this book was that it made you think. I mean Starr’s own uncle is a policeman and a good and righteous one at that. Yet there were also those officers that treated her father so badly and tried to intimidate her. Just because you’re a cop you’re not automatically a good person, just because you’re black you’re not automatically a drug dealer. Just because you go to a private school you’re not automatically rich.
Angie Thomas plays with ingrained prejudices and subjective perceptions. In “The Hate U Give” she shows us that supposedly good people can be bad and that people who seem to have a bad reputation can have a kind heart too. There occur at least as many prejudices against white people as there appear against black ones. For instance Starr’s father Maverick doesn’t like her boyfriend and is distrustful of him because he’s white. And Starr is the cool kid at her school because she’s one of the few students that attend the school and are black. Quite honestly, if I go by Starr’s and her friend’s definition of being black I’d be black through and through. *lol* I don’t like green bean casserole and for me Macaroni and cheese is a snack that comes out of the oven (thus a side dish) So I guess according to their reasoning that makes me as black as them! XD
”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.”
Despite all the humour that can be found in here, the message of this book is quite clear though: We’re all human, we all make mistakes, family is important and got your back, justice must be practiced and lived, we shouldn’t be judged for our skin colour and we should always stand up for our beliefs, no matter how hard it is.
I think that’s a great message and one that should be heard! So thank you Angie Thomas for writing this book, for giving Starr a strong voice, for allowing us to get a glimpse of other people’s lives and for showing me that Starr’s family is as funny, caring and crazy as mine.
A great book with an important message! Read it and let it be heard! =)