That's the problem. We let people say stuff, and they say it so much that it becomes okay to them and normal for us. What's the point of having a voice if you're gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn't be?”
Believe the hype! This book is outstanding! The book is inspired by Black lives Matter and whilst that is the point it also isn’t the point. The book is about the real pain and the struggle of being a young black person in America (although this could translate to many other western countries) About the inequalities in the justice system and the way the media paints negative images of black people. I cannot emphasise enough the socio-political importance of this book. That being said the book does not come across as preachy, it just tells a story that has a lasting impact
The main character Starr is engaging and very easy to empathise with. She is a teenage black girl who lives two lives, one where she is home in her neighbourhood with her family and friends. In her other life though, she goes to a school outside of her district. A school that is predominantly white and where her blackness and culture need to be toned down.
Starr is recalls being very young and being give “the talk”. If you are a white person the talk to you may mean the one about sex. To many black people the talk is the one that tells you what to do if you are stopped by the police. It’s the talk that is the difference between freedom and prison, life and death.
‘‘A hairbrush is not a gun.’’
“I always said that if I saw it happen to somebody, I would have the loudest voice, making sure the world knew what went down.
Now I am that person, and I’m too afraid to speak.”
When her friend Khalil is murdered by the police the community erupts and the media picks up the story, painting their own version of events, her world is turned upside down. Starr is the girl who has tried to fit into her surroundings who now suddenly, has to consider what it is that she truly stands for.
“At an early age I learned that people make mistakes, and you have to decide if their mistakes are bigger than your love for them.”
“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”
I love the way this book talks about family, neighbourhood, justice, and government in such a clear way, all through the eyes of this young woman. Starr’s trauma and pain are palpable throughout and her journey and wisdom help to win you over.
This book is perfect for anyone in their teens. It is helpful to understand the trauma that black people face and a great insight into white privilege. If you want to grow this is a must for your bookshelf.