book, book review, books

“The Hate U Give,” My Reading


It’s after midnight. More like after one in the morning.

I finished reading The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas, less than an hour ago.

I’ve been cooking the kiddos’ lunches for tomorrow. This meal includes: dumplings, egg rolls, some veggies, apple slices, rice, all made gluten-free.

The work isn’t done just yet.

Those delicious bites, which will be room temperature by the time the kiddos dive into them in the school cafeteria, still need to be assembled into their lunchboxes. Snacks, two different ones, need to be contained. Water bottles need to be filled. I also like to clean up the kitchen before hitting the sack. So, I don’t have a mess to deal with come morning, before the crack of dawn.

This is just a typical evening ritual prep for the next school day.

The Hate U Give wasn’t part of that routine.

My eldest, a young seventh grader, needed my signature on a permission slip for her to read this book for English class. Reading the synopsis wasn’t enough. Not for me, anyway. I needed to wrap my hands around this YA book and read it from cover to cover.

When I first started reading, I wasn’t sure I had made the right choice. Not only did it have cussing, but it also had racy stuff in it to boot. Sexual references. Ones I wasn’t sure I wanted my twelve-year-old reading.

I had a hard time getting past the first three pages.

I thought I had perhaps made a mistake. But, too late to go back.

Her teacher had to have good reason for approving or recommending the book. Maybe my own responsibilities — working, writing, being the kiddos’ instrument practice partner, cooking, meeting with people — took me into a different space and I wasn’t ready to read something for my daughter’s class.

But, I was determined to keep up my end. Support her as an involved mom.

Read on I did.

I was determined to get as far as possible, so she could read it openly and freely. And be able to ask me any questions about the novel.

Soon, I became friends with the sixteen year old protagonist, Starr.

Though we’re from different backgrounds, we have something in common.

We’re each a part of a minority.

And, I got a view into her culture:

The lingo, expectations, blended family and community dynamics, drug and gangster mingling….

A view where the deck’s stacked against her.

Racial profiling.

Real world, everyday problems.

Life of a girl trying to navigate between polar opposite cultures, expectations, norms, everything.

I’m glad I read the book. For my daughter’s sake. And for mine.

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