Five Reasons to Read The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – Review by Deana Metzke
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas has been at the top of the New York Times Bestseller list and has been talked about all over Twitter since before it was released, so I’m not sure there’s much I can say about the specifics of the storyline of the book that hasn’t been said. As I said in my Goodreads review, I feel like Angie Thomas was brave to write a book about an issue as current and controversial as Black Lives Matter. The effect that this book had on me as both a Mirror and a Window to my own life experiences, is one that makes it a rare gem for me. So for those few of you who haven’t read this book, here are some reasons why you should read it:
- For those of you who turn away because of the YA (Young Adult) label, don’t. This book is great for those people who teach in or are librarians in high school to recommend to students. But it is a great read for ANYONE, especially those of us who interact with children/students on a regular basis.
- As I stated, it touches on a very current and controversial subject, the shooting of black men by law enforcement. Whether you believe Black Lives Matter or not, this book is still important for you to read, because it will give you perspective either way. It lets you in in a way that you won’t get through the filters of TV or social media.
- Readers also get some perspective as to what its like to live “dual lives”. Starr, our main character, is a young African American woman who lives in an impoverished African American neighborhood, but goes to a private school where you can count the number of people of color on one hand. As a young teenager, she feels as though those two worlds cannot meet, and as a result, she stresses about having to constantly shift between those two environments and two lives. Unfortunately, this is not an issue specific to this situation, there are many adult people of color who feel the same way.
- The diversity within a race of people is highlighted in this novel. You have Black characters from all walks of life, living in gated communities and in the projects, those with prison records and those with college degrees. You get to know and like such diverse characters, andit also gives so many people, especially African Americans, the opportunity to experience seeing themselves in this novel, as well as windows to seeing other experiences. This is rare to see within one book.
- The storyline. I wanted to read this book so badly, but then I kept putting it down because I was too nervous to keep reading it. The characters, the feelings, they were just all too real for me at times. Have you ever had one of those situations at night where you need to put the book down at a good/happy spot, otherwise you’re afraid you’re going to be dreaming about the characters? That was me with this book. I did pick it back up and finish it (in 2 days), and I’m so glad I did.
After I finished the book, I wanted to tell everyone about it, which I did, I wrote a review on Goodreads. However, there was still hesitation when I considered putting it on my Facebook page. See, my Twitter and Goodreads accounts are full of basically like-minded people, who enjoy reading. But when it comes to Facebook, I have a wider range of friends, some who read, some who don’t and I’m sure I have some who don’t necessarily think that Black Lives Matter. And, I tend to stay out of politics and other hot-button issues when it comes to social media. So to put that review out that made me kind of nervous. But then, I remembered this quote from the book–
“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re going to be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?” — Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give
And so I got to typing…because even if they don’t love it, I’m convinced anyone who reads this book will still take something away from it.
Deana Metzke is a 30-something wife, mom of two, and book lover who is trying her best to raise children who will enjoy reading long after she’s gone. During the day, she is also a Literacy Coach at an elementary school, which strengthens her drive (or adds to her stress) to have not only her own children, but all children she encounters, be book lovers. You can find her on Twitter: @DMetzke or blogging at raisingreaderssite.wordpress.com