By Anna Jankowski
Welcome back to another edition of Flip or Flick! For this week’s post we will be discussing Angie Thomas’s 2017 novel, The Hate U Give, and the film adaptation released in 2018 starring Amandla Stenberg.
This book is extremely powerful and has won several awards including the Coretta Scott King Award for its commitment to nonviolent social change. The story follows the life of sixteen-year-old Starr Carter and the relationships she has to navigate as both a young Black teenager and a key witness to a massive injustice. Thomas was inspired by the 2013 Black Lives Matter movement that was founded in response to the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
Thomas’s prose is relatable and easy to read. Starr’s innermost thoughts are relayed directly to the audience and we get an in depth look at how she struggles to make sense of the world around her and fights to find her voice. Among the difficult systemic societal issues Starr encounters, she also faces the typical fights with parents and friends that most teenagers can relate to. Thomas tells the story with unflinching honesty and a fresh perspective that speaks to today’s culture and the roots of discrimination that have plagued our nation for centuries.
In 2018 the novel was adapted into a film by George Tillman Jr. The stunning visuals evoke a strong emotional response and depict the raw intensity of racial conflicts in America. Instead of using our mind’s eye to imagine the differences between the city of Garden Heights and the preparatory school of Williamson, we see the stark contrast represented through the ambience of the two locations. The film has an eclectic soundtrack that includes Tupac (whose lyrics inspires the name of the story) alongside Travis Scott and Billie Eilish. The cast ranges from well established and respected actors to less experienced fresh-faced talent.
So, FLIP or FLICK?
FLIP! The original source material was critically acclaimed for a very good reason, and the end of the film differs in several key ways from the end of the novel. The movie is beautiful and brings a visual perspective to some key scenes throughout the story. However other scenes, and even other characters, are completely omitted. Both the novel and film are powerful in their own way, but I personally think Angie Thomas’s authentic voice is something not to be missed. The film packs a poignant emotional punch but the novel does a much better job at allowing the nuances of each character to be fully explored. I highly recommend this story to everyone in the Villanova community because the injustices Starr encounters are still just as prevalent today as they were in 2017.
Anna Jankowski ’23 CLAS is a Senior Communication Major from just outside Baltimore who works as a Communication & Marketing Assistant in Falvey.
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