In case you have been living under a rock, or more likely under a heap of back-to-school work, the K-State Book Network common read for 2018 is “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas.
16-year-old African American Starr Carter is in the car when her childhood best friend, Khalil, is shot by the police during a traffic stop. When Khalil is painted as a thug, Starr has to decide how she will use her voice to fight back.
It’s safe to say that I’m a little obsessed with this book. I purchased and read it immediately after it was released in January 2017, and I got my copy signed by Angie Thomas at the National Book Festival last year.
The joys of being obsessed with a book means that different things come to the forefront each time you read it.
When thinking of “The Hate U Give” in the context of this review, the themes that stuck out to me were the focus on family and community.
Starr lives in Garden Heights, a community that is plagued by gang violence and, despite rough circumstances, remains close-knit. It is this very community where Starr finds encouragement to speak out about what happened to Khalil.
The Carter family is exceptionally close, and Starr relies on her family for support in the aftermath of Khalil’s shooting. Family and community motivate Starr’s actions.
Starr’s meaning of family and community has the potential to shape our meaning of those words as well.
For me, this connects to the KSUnite rally held last fall, and the fact that the university is holding a second KSUnite rally this fall on Oct. 9. This is a campus commitment to understanding its diverse community.
My reading of “The Hate U Give” with a focus on family is not to overlook the perspectives that Thomas provides on police brutality, racism and using your voice.
Thomas uses “The Hate U Give” to move beyond a one-dimensional aspect of these issues to make them human. Starr’s Uncle Carlos is a cop and provides a look at Khalil’s shooting from a side that is rarely seen.
But don’t worry, “The Hate U Give” isn’t all serious. Starr’s white boyfriend, Chris, has interactions with Starr’s family that provide plenty of entertainment, and Thomas peppers her novel with pop culture references that even the most pop-culturally illiterate of us can connect with.
I strongly recommend everyone to give this book a try; it is relevant, honest and raw. Between contemporary relevance and campus connections, Angie Thomas’s “The Hate U Give” is a book that even I can get behind reading (again).
Macy Davis is the assistant culture editor and a senior in English. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.