So I finally read one of the most talked about books in the community and it goes without saying that I loved this book! I also watched the movie and decided to do a book-to-movie adaptation post. So bear with me, this is gonna be a tad bit looongg!
You know how there are some books which have out of this world, nerve wracking, pitted with emotions and reality-based plot AND characters or some books which contain an important social message solely exist to equip you with the “world-is-changing-so-things-need-to-change” talk? Imagine reading a book which is BOTH. The Hate U Give is one of those beauties, and every person, teenage or adult, black or white, Muslim or Christian should read it.
The book is based on the Black Lives Matter Movement in America and tells about the situation of the black people living there through the life of a 16-year old girl, Starr Carter, who witnessed the shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil.
Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right. “
Now I have never seen someone die, or been in a situation where my heart would ache for a loved one like Starr’s did so even though I couldn’t relate to it on a personal level, Angie Thomas’s writing was so raw, authentic and overflowing with real emotions, that it almost felt like Khalil was my best friend! Reading this book was truly a mind-blowing experience. You could almost visualise the grocery story where Starr worked, hear the gunshots in Garden Heights, smell the delicious aroma of Mr.Rueben’s burgers, feel the tension in the air when the cops held Khalil. It made me realise that there are so many problems in this world to which we are oblivious to and I’m glad that people are now writing about it!!! We need to know these issues so we, as people, can make a change.
Another beautiful thing about the book is how light humour, fun and everyday family fanatics have been packed into the dialogues. I loved the banter between Starr’s parents, especially the sassiness of her mom. Like damn son, she was savage! I absolutely LOVED HER. It just makes my heart explode with satisfaction when I see such powerful, witty female characters. It was such a change from the non-existent parents that are usually found in YA novels.
The relationship of Starr with each of her family member was also very dynamic. I loved how her thoughts were written out, what she thought of Seven’s girlfriend, or how Seven would hide her “white-boyfriend-stuff” from their dad, or even cute little Sekani eating up all the bacon. It put a very warm ring to the whole story.
I think I’ll rate the book: 4.5/5
Ok, so the thing with reading a book prior to watching it’s movie is that when you’re watching the movie, you’re constantly comparing the entire thing with the book. Like “no they didn’t kiss in the book!” Or “no that’s not how they met!” which can suck at times because it takes away the whole impact that the movie is trying to make. I mean like ofcourse the movie can’t portray emotions like the book does, duh. We can’t read about feelings in a movie, so that part is solely dependant on the actors. And let me tell you, Amandla Stenberg did a brilliant job of an angsty, frustrated black teen who’s continuously shifting between two social identities – the “girl from the hood” and the “cool black Williamson girl”.
The movie is successful in portraying the major themes of the book: police brutality, childhood emotional trauma, importance of the lives of marginalised groups and low-key appreciation of Tupac’s songs (that shit is brilliant, my friend has legit been trying to get me to listen to Tupac and I think now’s the time I do that???) But most of all, what makes this story bat-shit awesome is that it’s a girl being a hero.
Now I know, that lately there have been quite a lot of books/movies with strong female leads but they’re also all some sort of a secret assassin/ninja/hacker who’s fighting with all the evil villains of the world and trying to save that one boyf/parent/friend etc. I mean as much as that’s rad and cool, that shit ain’t real! The Hate U Give, and the way Starr projects her rage and trauma into speaking for her people’s rights, testifying in front of the grand jury is real damn courage!! And really, hats off to the director and the actors for connecting with the emotions of the text and projecting them onto the wide screen!
But. (Ofcourse there is a but…told u this would be long.)
SO MANY PARTS HAVE BEEN SKIPPED AND SO MANY HAVE BEEN ADDED AND I’M NOT OKAY!
- Where is DeVante?
I think DeVante served a much larger purpose than just being Kenya’s boy-toy. Compared to the book, DeVante has zero appearance in the movie except for a teeny tiny 2-min scene in the beginning. In the book however, we see how DeVante is the one who makes Starr realise why Khalil dealt drugs, whether he a part of the King Lords, and also he’s the one beaten up by the King Lords in the end during the riots and not Seven (as in the movie!)
Also, he makes a good charity case for Uncle Carlos when he takes in DeVante under his roof when the King Lords were after his life. It kinda served as Uncle Carlos’s guilt of trying to makeup for what the police did to Khalil and how he couldn’t do anything at the time.
So I guess I probably would have liked to see DeVante in the movie too, yknow?
- Exchange between Uncle Carlos and Starr
Book: Uncle Carlos tells Starr, “I hate that I let myself fall into that mind-set of trying to rationalize his death. And at the end of the day, you don’t kill someone for opening a car door. If you do, you shouldn’t be a cop.”
Movie: Uncle Carlos is basically trying to justify Officer Brian’s actions (the cop who shot at Khalil), by saying that the cops are usually put in a position where they don’t know what to expect from the other person? So whatever he did, he did it to protect himself. However, uncle Carlos did conclude with the note that if it was a white boy instead of Khalil, he wouldn’t have shot him.
I think they twisted around the words a bit to take a more neutral stance and not be bused towards the police? Or else the movie would have been criticised to be more critical towards the police force rather than the message it was trying to put. I mean, yeah uncle Carlos did explain it well so I guess I was sort of indifferent to the change here.
- OHMYGOD THAT END THOUGH!
This is a major spoilerrrrrr.
This part of the movie was my absolute favourite! The directors took the whole “THUG LIFE” (The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody) to an entirely new level – an idea that Khalil introduces to Starr on the night he’s killed. It’s the notion that everyone suffers when the children who have been imbued with hate and anger become a menace to society. I don’t want to give the scene away (watch it for yourselves!) but it was the peak of rising emotion and one of the few scenes in Hollywood cinema that I would call ‘iconic’.
Truly, this addition was my favourite cuz it just makes the message so damn C.L.E.A.R!
So all-in-all, I think good job for the movie.
Totally recommended ✅
But if you can read the book first, do that first! It’s also slightly more humorous than the movie has let on.