The Hate U Give Read-Along, Part 2
For this part of the discussion of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, I want to talk about family. Last post, I talked about the strong sense of community that Thomas wrote about. The center of it all is the Carter family. I mention it in our part one discussion, but I think this strong sense of community and family really comes into fruition in the second half of the novel.
Starr's parents, of course, are there for her every step of the way. They are both strong role models, even if her dad used to be a gangbanger. He turned his life around and is helping the community. And I still can't get over the fact that they are both in their mid-30s. Starr's brothers too are strong characters who support her in their own ways. And I love that even though Seven is her step-son, Lisa Carter doesn't love him any less than her other two.
The dichotomy between Maverick (Starr's dad) and Uncle Carlos is further evolving with the events of Khalil's shooting and the aftermath. It seems to come to a real head with Maverick's discovery that not only does Starr have a white boyfriend, but everyone else including Uncle Carlos knew about Chris all along. It makes for an awkward, yet deliciously humorous scene all at once. Angie Thomas has a knack for bringing out so much emotion in this book, and most of all, making her characters quite nuanced and real.
The Garden Heights community: I've seen communities like this--I've worked with communities like this, with so much heart. Much like Khalil's grandma watched Starr while Lisa finished school and Maverick was in jail, I've met many a grandparent or grandparent figure who was taking care of young kids either when their parents were in jail or working several jobs. More so than this, I feel like Thomas really captured the heart of the community in how they all (mostly) come together. Maverick works things out between the Garden Disciples and Cedar Grove King Lords. And the Carters look out for the neighbors all the time, including during the first riots. Thomas depicts this community throughout to the end, when (SPOILER ALERT--but don't read ANY of this if you're not done yet!) the store is burned down and everyone rallies around them.
My comments about the second half are below. And if you didn't know, they are currently filming the movie adaptation of THUG. Check out the film's instagram page as well as the studio's for some behind-the-scenes photos. It looks like it will be amazing.
Part Two: Five Weeks After It
- Starr's interview about Khalil. "'He had a big heart,' I say. 'I know that some people call him a thug, but if you knew him, you'd know that wasn't the case at all. I'm not saying he was an angel or anything, but he wasn't a bad person. He was a...' I shrug. "He was a kid.'"
- Starr outing King during the interview--standing up for Khalil even though it makes things dangerous for her. She doesn't think she's brave, but she is. She wants everyone to know that it doesn't matter whether or not Khalil sold drugs or was in a gang--he was more than just a statistic. He was a person, a kid, like she said. So many lives are lost like this and we get hardened to the headlines, maybe shake our heads, then move on. But there are others who are left behind who can't just move on because that person shot was someone to them. I think THIS, more than anything else, is the main intent of this book--for those of us who are outside the community to realize that these kids, men, women are being killed for no reason.
- Chris: he seems like he's being such a jerk at Prom, but then we find out that he's hurt that his girlfriend wasn't sharing an important part of her life with him. I think he was justified with being upset. What did you think of Chris? The only part that I thought was over the top was when we went to the stage and started rapping Fresh Prince.
- Who do you think threw the brick into the house the night before the grand jury? My thoughts are most likely King and his crew. What did you think about Mav (Starr's dad) hiring Cedar Grove King Lords to protect them?
Part Three: Eight Weeks After It
- Ugh, the mess with Hailey. Could she really be so dumb and cruel as to say that 'someone was gonna kill (Khalil) eventually'? I was a bit shocked. But I also think that scene is believable. And I love that Starr's dad taught Starr and Seven how to box.
- Can you believe that Big Mav organized the Garden Disciples and Cedar Grove King Lords to discuss NOT rioting after the verdict? I think that's amazing. Even if it didn't work out. In the end, however, it was Goon who was saving people by picking them up in his truck.
Part Four: Ten Weeks After It
- Seven's graduation/birthday party: I think this is where it fully hits us that Seven is really a part of the Carter family and that Lisa Carter is more than a step-mom to him. She's been there for everything for him, an interesting contrast between Lisa Carter and Iesha, Seven's biological mom. I could see why Iesha would be hurt at not being invited. On the other hand, if Maverick Carter hadn't stepped up to be a good dad to Seven too, what would his outcome have been?
Part Five: Thirteen Weeks After It
- And this is where the other shoe drops. Times two. I'd been fearful for DeVante this whole time, and of course King and his boys would jump him. Ugh. What did you think about Iesha's actions here? Did you realize what was going on?
- I love the conversation that Starr, Chris, Seven and DeVante have in the car in the middle of the second set of riots (after the decision is announced). I especially like the conversation about names. It could have been a little soap-boxy but Angie Thomas made it relate-able and humorous instead.
- What do you think about Starr's actions and words during this set of riots? This is where she becomes an activist. But as a mom, I'm siding with Lisa Carter--and I'd be so pissed at Ms. Ofrah for putting my daughter in that situation. It seems like it was going to get out of hand no matter what. (Though I think Starr's words are powerful.)
- What about the fact that black-owned businesses weren't touched? I can see why they'd leave those alone, but I also don't understand why the other places would be touched either.
- The store: man, this is SO devastating. But I can also see why the Carters HAVE to re-build. And I can see them continuing to make a difference in the community of Garden Heights.
- The snitching at the end: while I like to think that means King will be in jail longer, I think more realistically he would have been out in a week after the arson. And then Iesha, Kenya, and Lyric would still be in trouble. And the Carter family too. I'm not as hopeful that DeVante revealing King's stash would keep King in jail. Or he'd still have control of his crew from the inside anyway. Though I could see why Thomas would want to end on a hopeful note.
I like how Angie Thomas ends this novel. It's a hard thing to do--to get an ending just right--and I think she's spot on. And she names all the lives who have been needlessly killed in the same way as Khalil. It's an ode, and it's a promise to remember and DO something about it. Bravo, Ms. Thomas, bravo.
Tell Dr. Bookworm!
What are your thoughts about the decision? About Starr's interview?
Do you think Chris had a right to be mad at Starr for not telling him?
What did you think about the rioting? Were they justified? What about the fact that Starr realizes that the people looting and rioting don't live in Garden Heights. They aren't destroying their own neighborhood....so of course they don't care.
I'll be honest and say that Big Mav might be my favorite character in the book. He's the most real, and full of humor and heart. Though I will say that Thomas made Chris pretty swoon-worthy, especially as he sticks by Starr every step of the way. Who is your favorite character?