‘The Hate you give’ is a young adult novel written by Angie Thomas in 2017. It was written as a reaction to the police shooting of Oscar Grant and focuses on the ‘Black lives matter’ movement. The novel received critical acclaim and was widely appreciated. It has also been adapted into a Hollywood movie by George Tillman Jr. in 2018, which was equally successful.
The novel showcases the life of the protagonist, Starr Carter, a 16-year-old American girl who lives in a black neighbourhood “Garden Heights”. The novel is based on the events that unfold in her life after she becomes the sole witness to her best friend Khalil’s death, who was shot by a white police officer. Other important characters in the novel include members of Starr’s family, her friends, boyfriend and her uncle Carlos. The main antagonist in the novel is Brian, the police officer who shot Khalil, but I feel that the state or the police department as a whole is an antagonist here. Each character plays a key role in imparting depth to the novel.
The power of the novel lies in its structure and flow, it is dynamic and makes the readers feel like they’re a part of a movie and the readers connect to the incidents taking place at a grassroot level. Apart from the regular high school life element, the novel talks about some very important issues.
Without delving much into the plot, the novel focuses on some very major themes of society that I believe, after the recent police killings of George Floyd and many other similar cases, become important for debate, discussion and discourse. These themes include:
- Racism, oppression and marginalisation of black communities.
- Popular culture of the black community or the “neighbourhoods”.
- Police brutality and subsequent twisting of facts.
- Narratives of the role of the state and the role of media in a popular movement.
- Perception of people- This includes perception of white people towards blacks, of blacks towards whites and of blacks towards other black community.
- Lack of opportunities and a vicious capitalistic cycle.
As you can see, the essence of the importance of all these themes makes the novel jaw-dropping and very hard to leave. This novel was in my TBR list for a long time and I’m glad to have enjoyed it. It will provide an insight to you regarding some very important social issues, along with having a gripping plot-line and is definitely worth a read!
Do tell me your views on the book if you have read it and the book review in the comment section below! ✨✨