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LIFE BETWEEN TWO WORLDS

Never will she see the world differently, but viewers may

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“The Hate U Give” book gives readers a compelling plot about the lives of  teens who live in very different circumstances, while the movie narrows the focus on the point of view of the story’s main character, Starr Carter. Both points of view give audiences much to consider about race, violence and community.

Book author Angie Thomas moves the character of Starr between two different worlds, her mostly black, poor neighborhood and her mostly white, rich prep school. Starr’s world changes in an instant when she is faced something she never thought would happen. The way she handles this situation mirrors much of what is happening in America today, elevating “The Hate U Give” to an award for Best Young Adult Fiction by Goodreads Choice.

The book opens readers’ eyes to what it is like to be a black teen living under the fear of police violence. Even though it was banned from some schools because of  inappropriate language, the book is good for young adults because it has a teenager protagonist and it shows what it is like for black teenagers.

Some characters experience murders by drug dealers or drive by shootings or sometimes from police officers who react incorrectly in situations of suspected harm.

Local teens should read this book because it is inspiring, and it has a teen perspective, a teen protagonist who is a black girl, who goes through something that some black youth experience with police often.

The movie version of “The Hate U Give” received 97 percent Rotten Tomatoes. Directed by George Tillman Jr., the movie opens with a powerful affirmation of blackness.

A young black teen, Starr Carter (played by Amandla Stenberg), brings to live the conflict of living between two worlds. The poor, broken neighborhood called Garden Heights, where she lives, and the wealthy, mostly white school Williams Prep, where she attends with her brothers Seven Carter (Lamar Johnson) and Sekani Carter (TJ Wright), are portrayed in dramatic opposites.

Like the book, Starr’s childhood best friend is shot by a police officer and everything crashes down around her.

But, readers should stop there.

The movie is nothing like the book. Because it misses so much from the book, the movie resembles nothing but actors talking like the characters in the book and sharing the same book title.

The screenwriter of the movie version was Audrey Wells, who died of cancer in October, 2018. Wells was a white woman writing a movie that was about #BlackLivesMatter. Critics have noted that to appeal to a broad audience and bring people to the movie theater, she had to take some parts of the book out of the movie.

In the book, Chris joins Starr, Seven and Devante at the protest.  

In the movie this scene is left out. Is it because Devante isn’t in the movie or Chris didn’t belong there at the protest in the movie?

One of the scenes in the book is where Starr is at Chris’s house when she got a text from Seven saying Devante was beaten by King (Anthony Mackie), a drug lord in the neighborhood.

In the movie this scene doesn’t happen because Devante is not in the movie. The authentic understanding of family dynamics are missing.

The point of view of in the movie is lacking. Maybe it was because the screenwriters didn’t matter to understand Starr’s life or how she learns to stand up, or maybe it was just that the screenwriter didn’t know where to put the characters.

Either way, I rate the movie a 5/10 because, while it has good actors and a good story line, it should have included the characters who were important to the book because the audience who read the book wanted those characters and wanted to see what actors would play them. Book readers in the audience were disappointed.

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LIFE BETWEEN TWO WORLDS