The movie premiered October 19 in the theaters, but I wanted to read the book first. I have heard great reviews of the movie so far and I can’t wait to see it!
I am of the belief that Angie Thomas is a huge Tupac Shakur fan. When I first learned about this book, I thought it was just the title that paid homage to Tupac’s widely known philosophy, “The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody.” Boy, was I wrong! Everything in the book can be traced back to Tupac such as the music playing in the background, the names Ms. Thomas chose, the quotes, and philosophies. I mean, just so much reveres him and his beliefs. So, I know the Tupac fans will enjoy it as much as I did.
The book centers on Starr, a 16-year-old girl that lives in the hood of Garden Heights, but she and her brothers attend a private school in the suburbs b/c they can get a better education. Soon, you meet her best friend, Khalil. They have an interesting relationship b/c they met as babies and were very close, but as teenagers, they fell out of contact and grew apart. One night at a party, they run into each other and began to catch up.
Suddenly, someone starts shooting and people scatter. They end up in Khalil’s car with him taking her home until… *whoop, whoop* That’s the sound of the police… Without provoking him, the police officer shoots Khalil and thus the tale begins. Just like that, Khalil became a hashtag, #KhalilHarris. 😦 Just like that, Starr is taken on a journey where her life is forever changed.
Sadly, this is nothing new in the real world. With #PhilandoCastile, #FreddieGrayJr, #OscarGrant, and #SandraBland as well as countless others, this is really art imitating life. What bothers me is that none of these police officers are convicted. Sure, they may lose their jobs, but other it being a huge inconvenience, that’s all that happens to them.
Funny, how the book mimics real life though from the media perspective too. The officer responsible for shooting Khalil in cold blood, “Officer One-Fifteen,” was shown as an angel in the media. He was helping the homeless. Singing with his church choir. Saving a kitten out of the tree. Ms. Thomas did not shy away from the bright, white light that the media loves to cast on those who are of the “Caucasian Persuasion.” I mean, I was angry b/c we saw how dead wrong the officer was, yet the media is trying to garner sympathy for him. Even had his family making statements and doing interviews talking about how he loves his family and wanted to get home that night. UGH! It had me fired up!
On the other hand, guess how Khalil was portrayed? Yep… he was a thug. A gang banger. Dope seller. Wayward. I mean, this is the person that was killed in cold blood. He was someone’s son, grandson, nephew, and friend too! A close friend of Starr’s even said, “He was probably going to die any way, look at his lifestyle.” Girl, what?! That’s not a reason he should be dead right now. Oh, wow! I was mad right along with Starr b/c how dare she make that assumption especially when you don’t know what or whom you’re talking about. Take a guess as to why she thinks this way? Yep, she is a Caucasian teenager that has been sheltered all her life and from the very private school Starr attends. I was too through, okay!
As promised, I will not spoil the book for you. I will say that you have to check it out b/c it’s THAT good. I went through so many emotions reading this book and it really took me to a place where I could really imagine things as I read.
I mean, let’s face it… it ain’t that hard seeing as how it depicted real life so well. Definitely relevant for today and yesterday, but hopefully, at some point, our tomorrow will tell a different story. A story of how we overcame these tough and difficult times.
I really believe that Ms. Thomas did an excellent job with this book and I look forward to her future work.
If you read this book, please let me know how you liked it. Comment below.