Book vs. Movie: The Hate U Give

Hello, my darling readers!
It’s time for a book and movie comparison. This particular story has been on my radar for a while now. I finally had time to sit down and give it a go. So let’s see what The Hate U Give is all about!

The Plot (according to Goodreads):

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Book vs. Movie:

Let’s see, where do we begin?
I started with the book, so you’ll get my thoughts on that first.

Only two chapters in, I was already crying. This book may not be perfect but it certainly is touching. From the very get-go, you are sucked in and feel deeply for the characters. That’s because we kick things off not with a fizzle but with a bang that hits you right in the feels. When Khalil is murdered I got not only sad but also so extremely angry at the whole world.

The exploration of the aftermath is done rather well and Starr is relatable. While I did enjoy her development, I felt like some parts of the story were over the top. For example, despite being written nicely, it felt too in your face how Angie Thomas dealt with the other kid Starr’s parents help out (trying to dance around spoilers here). Thomas was trying a bit too hard to underline what good people they are and how amazing the community can be. The story would have worked just as well without that.

Generally speaking, some parts just were too set up. Starr’s dad’s past. Starr’s uncle’s job. I’m not sure how to better explain this, but if you read the book you’ll probably know what I mean.

After the book really affected me, I was a little wary to see the film. Surely, the adaptation can’t hold up to that? Well, the movie did make me cry as well. However, as a whole, I felt a bit less of an impact. Certain side plots were left out, some things were simplified and I think it really took away from the strength of the story. Even the story was set up a bit too neatly in the book, it hits you hard. The film is well done but doesn’t reach the same intensity.

What I would like to praise is the cast. I was rather surprised to see Anthony Mackie in this, but he did a marvelous job. Just like everybody else and especially Amandla Stenberg. She gives a strong performance and steals the show. The only one I didn’t love, however, was KJ Apa as her boyfriend. First of all, it was SO weird to see him with dark instead of red hair after watching Riverdale. Furthermore, I didn’t love his character to begin with but they took out some of the depth he had in the novel and that certainly doesn’t help.

All in all, I found both book and movie to be very interesting and more importantly: extremely relevant. Even though the adaptation is not quite as good as the novel with is itself not perfect, it is well done and a great alternative for those of you who don’t feel like reading!

Did you prefer the book or the movie? Let me know in the comments!

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5 thoughts on “Book vs. Movie: The Hate U Give

  1. Pingback: Wrapping it up for January! | The Punk Theory

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