As you may be aware my friend Kerrie, at Wheelie Stagey, and myself are doing some buddy reads through isolation. Our first choice is The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. On Monday we posted our first thoughts on chapters 1 – 9. The second instalment came on Wednesday, and this is our final post for this novel.
For each section Kerrie and I have come up with some questions to discuss. You can find the full list by clicking here. Please have a look at my previous posts and go to Kerrie’s blog too for her instalments. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #BeauteafulStageyReadAlong to tag us both if you’re joining in!
Chapters 19 – the end of the book is where the action really ramps up. Riots, protests, social movement all accelerate. Starr is waiting to hear the outcome of her interview with the Grand Jury, and the social pressures in her neighbourhood are reaching fever pitch. There’s a lot to reflect on in this last section including out overall ideas of the book. So let’s get into it.
Was it important that the book didn’t have a typical ‘happily ever after?’
Yes. I think this makes the story real and conveys the point the rest of the book had been putting across. The narrative would not have held as much weight if we got the desired outcome of the officer being prosecuted. The reality is, the officer was not prosecuted because this is what usually happens ‘in real life’. It’s important to know that, a lot of the time, life doesn’t have the happily ever afters but instead gives us a lesson to learn from.
Do we think our reactions were affected as we are British readers and there are cultural differences between our own experiences and, for example, the school systems and legal systems we have read about in this book?
I’d like to think my emotional reactions to this book were that of a rational human being. Anyone with a reaction other than shock, horror, or anger to the main issues in this book should take a look at themselves. However, I think there certainly was an added shock factor that comes from the cultural differences between British and American cultures. As a British reader it is still madness to me that people can simply be running around neighbourhoods with guns. The idea that Starr was very aware she could have been shot by a police officer for essentially no reason at all is insanity to me as our regular police aren’t just wondering around with guns. When I first moved to London I was shocked to see police officers carrying guns because that is not a standard feature of police uniform here. The idea that students could simply stage a mass walkout at school is massively different to the way our secondary schools are run. Riots are not a common feature of UK society. In fact they make national news on the rare occasion that they do happen.
When Kerrie and I spoke about this novel, a lot of our thoughts were punctuated with ‘I couldn’t imagine this happening here’. I think this book and the circumstances described in it have really made me appreciate the upbringing and the life I have.
This book gives a very strong message to use our voice. Do we use our own voices enough to contribute to society?
This book has made me think about what I actually do to use my voice. I do voluntary work with Girl Guiding UK so I guess I use my voice to empower and lead young girls. However this left me thinking, is that enough? Do we have to speak out on a world stage to be using our voice effectively or is the point more that we should just be aware of the power of our voice and not choose to refrain from using it?
I think there is always a way to do more and it’s good that I am more aware of this now.
After reading The Hate U Give, what part of the book resonated with you most? What insight will you carry with you?
For me it was definitely the learning curve that this book gave me. It allowed me to check my own privilege, and learn about different American societies and cultural experiences to the ones I ordinarily see on television and in films. The insight I will carry will be most is a renewed sense of self-awareness and that I really need to work on learning more about experiences outside of my own. This book has been a very valuable read for me.
Thank you for reading along with us! We’ve really enjoyed this read-along and will definitely be doing some more soon. Keep an eye out on my blog next week for my full review of The Hate U Give.