A powerful piece we all need to digest
Just over a year ago, author Angie Thomas released The Hate U Give. It was an instant hit and now 20th Century Fox is releasing a movie version of it, set to hit theaters later this year. On the surface, it’s a story that we’ve all heard and can maybe even empathize with. But the reason we all need to see it is because, deeper down, it’s a story we need to experience firsthand.
Image via annmariequeen
On the surface
Starr Carter is 16 years old when she starts her narration. Like other teenagers her age, she’s in love, goes to the occasional party and hides secrets from her parents. But unlike everyone else, Starr has to balance an uneasy scale between the poor neighborhood where she lives and the suburban prep school that she attends.
On the last weekend of Spring Break, her world is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil. He was unarmed, underage and wasn’t partaking in any illegal activity at the time the policeman shot him. Naturally, his death became national news.
Soon, headlines claim Khalil was a thug, a suspected drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters from their neighborhood scream for justice. The local drug lord is trying to intimidate Starr and her family. Everyone says they want the truth, but the only one that knows what really went down is Starr.
Boo, how boring
The book focuses a lot on racism, injustice and the standard (and not so standard) difficulties of growing up. Khalil’s death is something we’ve all heard about in real life; we’ve seen those same headlines flashing across our television screens and morning newspapers. You think you know the story, but Angie Thomas brings you right at the center of the debate (and we’re assuming 20th Century Fox will do the same).
The book is sometimes uncomfortable and sometimes relatable but it is always eye-opening. You will hear about perspectives you never even considered, you will see multiple sides to the story. And the best part is the language is not the least bit preachy—it’s young, current and in that sense easily digestible.
Is it worth the read/watch?
At this point, we don’t know how the Hollywood big names are going to interpret the author’s words, but it does look promising. And since some of us have a little difficulty with imagination, then the answer is yes to both: It is worth the read and it is likely worth the watch.
Some parting words (AKA excerpts from the book)
“My school has hoes, too. Hoedom is universal.”
“Funny how it works with white kids though.”
“It’s dope to be black until it’s hard to be black.”
“’Pac said Thug Life stood for ‘The Hate U Give Little Infants Fuck Everybody’… meaning what society gives us as youth, it bites them in the ass when we wild out. Get it?”
“'Drug dealer’ is louder than ‘suspected’ ever will be.”
“I can’t stand myself for doing it, but I do it anyway.”
The Hate U Give will premiere in the United States come October. Here’s to hoping we get to see it on the big screen, too. But hey, when has the lack of theaters ever stopped us from watching films, huh?
Art Alexandra Lara