Just finished reading Angie Thomas's YA novel, 'The Hate U Give'.
Powerful, necessary and one of those amazing books that defies categorisation. I read it in one sitting. The title comes from American rapper Tupac's idea of 'Thug Life' (T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E.) which stands for, 'The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody'. And in the character, Khalil's words, 'Meaning what society give us as youth, it bites them in the ass when we wild out. Get it?'
Sucked in from the first page, the story of 16 year-old Starr who witnesses the shooting of her friend, Khalil, was partly inspired by Thomas's life, but pivotally by the continual and tragic killings of unarmed black people by police in America and the Black Lives Matter movement. Endemic racism, generational hate, blind assumptions, police brutality and fear, prejudice, ghettoisation, class rivalry, gangs, how young people fall into crime, the limitations of choice, and the constant struggle to live and find hope, love, humanity and light in the bleakest and most violent circumstances. Thomas's book encompasses all this and so much more with an engaging voice, nuanced complexity, vivid characters, and humour. Great writing that resists simple conclusions or clear cut divisions.
A must read.