The Hate U Give was on my reading list for this year, but also chosen as our February book club book. One thing I love about our book club this year is that we are focusing on reading the work of women of color.
This book was gripping. It was hard to put down, but I also really needed breaks because of the subject matter and story. It was partly Angie Thomas' ability to write such real characters, and partly how real the story is. I felt like I was reading a first hand account of the friend who could have been with Trayvon Martin, or something shared by Erica Garner. I loved that Angie wrote so much nuance into the story. I loved that she wrote Starr's uncle to be in law enforcement. I loved the overarching story arc of Starr finding her voice, stepping into activism, and claiming her whole identity with all her friends. I was grateful for moments of reprieve, well placed humor, and descriptions of daily life woven into the major plot points.
Personally, I struggle to hold space for all the hurt in our world, and invoke the resilience to keep going. Reading this book reminded me of the real stories, lives, and communities behind every headline. I'm still building the resilience necessary to move forward without tuning out, without becoming numb, and letting myself see statistics instead of people.
I think "The Hate U Give" should be required reading for any of us who have the luxury of being able to tune out. It's a powerful tool to tap into and grow our empathy.
When I got to the end of the book and read Angie's short bio, I was amazed that this was her FIRST BOOK. WHAT? If you follow me at all, you'll know that I'm writing my first book. In researching publishers, agents, and the traditional processes, I came across many articles stating (more or less) "Everyone's first book sucks". It really got to me for a while. Coming full circle and realizing something so powerful was a first book shook me right out of my imposter syndrome.
"The Hate U Give" is definitely going on my short list for book recommendations. Have you read it? What were your thoughts?