The Hate U Give Book vs Movie Review

“The Hate U Give” delves into a hot topic in today’s day and age – police brutality. We often see this on social media, like police tackling someone to the ground or cases about police shooting unarmed people, but what we rarely see is the victim’s perspective. This book shows us.

I started and finished the book in one day. I haven’t read like that since freshman year, because normally I don’t have enough time to, but this time I could not put the book down.

The book focuses around the life of an African American high school girl, Starr Carter, who lives in the ‘ghettos’ but goes to a wealthy prep school. There is a distinct line between her life at school and her life at home. However, this all changes when her childhood best friend, Khalil Harris, is shot and killed by a police officer who mistook a hairbrush for a gun. As the only witness, Starr is encouraged to speak out. However, by doing this, she could be putting her and her family’s lives in danger.

The characters were described in such a way that sometimes I would be pleased with them, but other times I would have to put the book down and take a break because I couldn’t handle how they acted. The characters’ decisions either made me want to jump up with joy or scream out in frustration. One page would have me congratulating Starr on her decision, and the next would have me asking, “Why would you do that?” It was quite an emotional roller coaster for me.

I watched the movie after reading the book, so I knew much of what was going to happen throughout the movie. However, that didn’t stop me from being startled when hearing the sound of gunshots echoing through the speakers, or being angry when Starr denied knowing Khalil.

I usually prefer books to movies, but there is only so much that your mind can make up. Having a visual interpretation of the book enhanced the whole story for me. I could imagine what it would look like when Khalil got shot, but to actually see it made everything seem so much more real. Watching Starr stand up to her so-called friend made me feel very empowered and proud of the Starr’s decision. The speeches that Starr made during the movie and the book were both very emotional, but hearing it out loud made it much more so.

However, there were a couple of problems I had with the movie. I felt like the movie in a way, justified the cop shooting Khalil. The reason why Khalil was shot in the movie was because there was a hairbrush in his hand and he was in the motion of combing his hair when the cop thought he saw a gun. On the contrary, in the book, Khalil is opening the door to check on Starr when he gets shot. There is no mention of a hairbrush until later. In addition, right after Khalil is shot, in the book the cop then turns his gun on Starr. This is one of the main points that Starr uses in her interview on television about what happened, but in the movie it is glanced over. This was a very important part of the book, because a cop kept his gun on an unarmed girl who’s best friend was just killed.

The main message of the story goes back to the meaning of the title, “The Hate U Give.” In both the movie and the book, Tupac is referred to, especially his saying, “T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E.”- The Hate U Give Little Infants F**ks Everyone. And in the movie, the director really chose to show that. At the end of the movie, there is much conflict when a gang leader starts fighting with Starr’s dad. When he reaches for his gun, he finds out that his youngest son had pulled it out and is pointing it at the gang leader, showing that “T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E.” really is true.

I definitely recommend reading both the book and watching the movie. Although the movie added unique cinematic qualities, I still enjoyed the book more. There are some parts of the book that are not included in the movie, so it is nice to not miss some of the details, but the movie makes the story much more emotional. I appreciated that the book had more personal details and Starr’s stream of consciousness. Everything happened very fast in the movie, whereas in the book I was able to read at my own pace and brace myself for things that were to come. Reading the book and watching the movie opens people’s eyes to unreported situations in some communities. What’s more, is that something like this could happen in real life. This is not just a story.

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