Monday, November 26, 2018

Book Review: Anger is a Gift

Anger Is a GiftAnger Is a Gift by Mark Oshiro

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If I could take Mark Oshiro's writing style and add it over top of the story in The Hate U Give I think it would make for the best YA story about USA police racism and prejudice against minorities. Oshiro's style is far more compelling and emotional than that of Angie Thomas. Additionally there are elements of each story that are done just a little bit better.

Comparison to The Hate U Give
I can't help but compare these two stories. Unfortunately the Anger is a Gift I read The Hate U Give first and so my emotional response to Anger is a Gift was perhaps lessened. I remember my emotional response to Thomas' story having high impact on me. Given that I read The Hate U Give at least 6 months ago, and have become more educated about the police problem in the USA, I think that meant that I wasn't surprised by the eventual outcome or the way the story played out in Anger is a Gift. It's unfortunate as I am sure Oshiro's story would have been just as impactful, if not more so (as the writing is superior) than Thomas' story. 

Character Development
I really liked the development of our main boy. Oshiro gives a flawed, realistic teenage personality to our lead boy. Unfortunately, the love interest boy is not nearly as well developed. This bothered me. I felt like there was a lot more to know about him and that his feelings and conflicts could have been more developed. I'd have liked to know more about him overall. While his character is not the lead, he is the primary reason there is a story to tell here and so I wanted a lot more of him than we got. Although maybe it's appropriate, that I feel like we didn't get to know him very well, given the context of the story. 

A Crazy Reality
Having been relatively sheltered in Canada from the racial police violence; the last few years of media coverage and outrage from the USA has really allowed me to get a better understanding of some of the problems and situations Americans are faced with. Purely by numbers, Canada does not appear to have the same systemic problem with racial profiling. That's not to say it doesn't happen; because of course it does, but it's just not as widespread or obvious. Part of that may be because we don't have the same rampant gun ownership in Canada as there is the USA (but that's a whole other topic on it's own). 
I like to believe it's because Canadians are more welcoming and overall less racist than our neighbours to the South... However, as I handle statistics all day long at my day job, I know that numbers aren't always the best representation of something. It's all relative. And so while I hate, hate that anyone is profiled (in any way ever); I know that we need these stories and need to keep telling them so that the issue(s) receive the attention deserved. 

I won't lie, if you've read The Hate U Give you've pretty much read Anger is a Gift. Just place a boy and his gay (almost) boyfriend in place of the girl and her male friend and you've got, more or less, the same story. That's not to say that both aren't worth the read. They are both definitely worth a read; but maybe not back-to-back as you might feel like it's redundant.  
What I really liked about this story was that the boys being gay wasn't the primary concern of the book. It just was what it was. This is the second book this year (2018) where the lead gay character has had other issues or stories to tell besides focusing entirely on how they are gay. It's great to see this! And really important that it keeps happening. The more books we have that take race, sexuality, religion, identification and other 'differences' that have divided people in the past as the norm and focus on other issues, the closer we are to having some semblance of equality. 

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.

Follow me on GoodReads...

1 comment:

Leonore Winterer said...

Since I have read neither this nor 'The Hate U Give', which would you recommend to read (first)? I've been quite sheltered of this type of issue as well, although it starts popping up here in Germany in a bit of a different way (with all the refugees and people profiling them)....