Cover Image: Black Buck

Black Buck

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Member Reviews

I went into this book completely blind, but maybe I should not have. For example, I did not realize it was a satire until after I finished reading it. My thoughts were sort of all over the place with it. It certainly was different than anything I’ve ever read before and I am glad I read it because it is outside of my comfort zone but did I like it? The jury is still out. 

The author is talented, of that I have no doubt. I also think that it beings up many important discussion about race. I was so angry for Darren in many of the early scenes of the book. It was disgusting how he was treated. But I think there was truth to that, and that POC experience situations like that regularly. This would probably be an excellent read for a high school or college class. It would have some excellent talking points. I’m kind of bummed this isn’t a real life story though, because Darren is someone who could change the world. 

What I didn’t like most was the parts that actually talked to the reader and gave point on how to be a good sales person. I think it took away from the story and it really bugged me.
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This is an excellent novel, I'd love to see what else the author has written. The story and characters are rich and engaging - a must read.
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This book is absolutely fantastic!  It’s about Darren, a black man living in NYC.  He was high school valedictorian but didn’t go on to college.  He’s working at Starbucks as a shift lead instead. Everyone he cares about wants him to reach his potential, but he’s waiting for “his shot”. Then an opportunity presents itself when he convinces a hotshot CEO to change his regular order. Darren takes this opportunity and all manner of hell breaks loose.

This book to be a great mixture of humor, inspiration and jaw dropping confrontation with racism. It was smart.  I was fully engaged in the story of the main character, Buck, formerly known as Darren.   highly recommend this book and will definitely read more of his work.

5 Stars!!

Thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for a review copy. The opinions stated here are my own.
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Logically, I know this was one book - but you can't convince me this wasn't three separate novels in one. I want to see this turned into a movie ASAP! I felt like this book is a tongue in cheek mash up of The Wolf Of Wall Street and Otessa Moshfegh with a dash of Curtis Sittenfeld... So it checked all of the boxes for me. The important thing is going into this book understanding that it is satire, and masterful satire at that, otherwise I can see people being accidentally offended. This was beautifully done and an author I'll be buying in the future.
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<i> "...The old me was gone, and I was happy about it, because he was a boy and I was finally a man. A man who took shit from no one."</i> 

<I>Black Buck</i> was infuriating. I can't tell you who often my blood boiled while reading it. People have compared <I>Black Buck</i> to Wolf of Wall Street and I can see it. Darren is a complex character who makes about three consecutive circles throughout the whole plot. The writing is humorous, fast-paced, and sharp. The author notes sprinkled throughout the book, breaking up the third wall was funny. The beginning of the book was sharp, fast and infuriating but the second half of the book felt like a whole different novel the pacing and POV seems to have changed. The first half seems to focus on Darren but the second half loses track of Darren's motivations and the ending was lackluster. I do want to know what happened to Darren after the book had ended but alas. I would read something else by Askaripour because I see the vision in his writing.
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I have been trying to figure out what I wanted to write about this book and I am still not sure that I know exactly. Black Buck is a novel of the time. It revolves around Darren "Buck" who is discovered one day at his Starbucks job by the CEO of a new life assistance company. After "hell" week, where he has to survive not just the sales rep role play but the overt racism his boss is putting out there, begins a job that will make his career. Over the next year Buck deals with family issues, friend issues, and work issues and through all of this he finds what he really should be doing in this world. 
This is a book that is at times hard to take and makes you think. Now I do not have to deal with racism so all I can say is that this book did make me think. There was a point where I thought about what would someone do if they were the only of a group at a job. Could they go to HR when experiencing issues like racism or sexism.? Now while I liked that it made me think I will say that I really did not care for any of the characters in the book. And maybe that is the point. Not all people are likable or always do likable things. We make choices that others would not agree with and regret. I think if I had liked the characters it would have felt as real. They were very multi dimensional which was great.
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I was able to read this book thanks to NetGalley. I really enjoyed the story and especially the characters. It was funny, real, and important. I will be recommending it to family and friends snd will be looking for more from this author in the future. Thanks again for the opportunity to read this book.
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A thank you to Netgalley for sharing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

3.5 I'm still processing this one. Another reviewer mentioned that her reaction to this one was all over the map and I have to concur. I am admittedly not a fan of satire - I can appreciate it, but I never truly enjoy it. It tends to highlight a lot of uncomfortable truisms, which I'm not opposed to reading or discussing. However, as such, I cannot enjoy the humor (although in all fairness, the author's intro did leave me chuckling) so I'm not necessarily the reader to asses the book. That said, the writing is brilliant and the witty, whipsnap dialogue engaging, to say the least. An author to watch.
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Blackbuck introduces us to a man nicknamed "Buck," who we first meet as a Starbucks barista.  His encounters at Starbucks lead him to working for a CEO of a tech startup, and we watch Buck undergo a huge transformation throughout the book.

I really appreciated Askaripour's witty and satirical writing, and I loved the premise of the story as well.  I did feel as thought he character development fell a little short, and some of the situations seemed a little far-fetched.   Overall, though, this was a good read and I look forward to reading more from Askaripour in the future!
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Thank you netgalley and the publisher for my gifted copy. I enjoyed this book about an unambitious starbucks barista who randomly makes a comment to the CEO of SamWun, NYC's hottest tech group landing him a job on the team. After a hell of a first week and being the only black person working there he begins to come up with a plan to help young people of color infiltrate America's sales force. His motivation and will to keep going was inspiring to me.
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Great book.....love the characters.   Mostly enjoyed how racism was placed in the book.  All the typical things that happen working in a field dominated by another race.  Also, let you see how people can become part of a cult.   They break you down and build you up!!!!
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"An opportunity means change. An opportunity means action. But most of all, an opportunity means the chance of failure. And it’s the potential for failure, more than failure itself, that stops so many people from beginning anything. Back then, I was no different."

Wow. This was an incredibly difficult book to read and I can't believe how much I enjoyed it. I typically don't gravitate towards novels that are satirical because they either are too outlandish that I have difficulty relating to the circumstances or they aren't satirical enough meaning the authors point was lost. In Black Buck, Mateo Askaripour handles every character, circumstance, and joke with the deftest hand and had me hooked from page 1.

Living with his Mother in a close knit neighborhood, Darren Vendor is content with his life and career as a manager for his Starbucks, until given the opportunity to work for the major start-up company Sumwun. Upon passing Sumwun's brutal initial "hell week," Darren begins to slowly become known as Buck, the savvy and ruthless salesperson who would do anything to make his sale. Centralizing on themes such as being a person of color in business, the corrupt nature of business, and ambition we watch the rise and fall of the incredible Darren "Buck" Vendor.

Black Buck set up some of the best developed characters I've ever read. From clearly establishing everyone's character and beliefs in the beginning, we can see them change and grow through their adversity. I can't articulate how frustrated or uncomfortable I became with certain situations that happen, that actually make complete sense and aren't written out of convenience. The way Buck begins to question himself or others around him was so difficult to read about that I had to put the book down a number of times to breathe before returning to the current catastrophe.

The commentary about the black communities views and how non-POC communities engage with them was super interesting. There were ongoing jokes such as Darren constantly being met from white strangers with a "You look like Chadwick Bosman," "You look like Lebron James," "You look like Will Smith," or "You look like Drake." Another was an introduction to the philosophy about not freestyling in front of white people because they will treat you like a circus act always asking for you to do it again. There was also the commentary about how and why businesses use POC's in the workplace.

I did have difficulty with the last third of the book as the satire and characters began to be pushed to their collective extremes. Askaripour introduces a lot of large topics towards the last 100 pages of the book, which felt like they didn't belong in this current narrative. However, after taking some steps back, I can appreciate them for the dialogue and reflection it puts upon modern America, even if the action felt rushed and not as well developed.

Black Buck reads as a modern, and controversially, more impactful Great Expectations. This book will change how people perceive the world and POC communities and issues around them. I'm so appreciative to have read Black Buck and excited to see what Askaripour creates next!
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It was a Struggle to finish this book. I found it a difficult & hard read due to the level of racism and some of it was just to unbelievable. I also felt the main character used his race to benefit himself in his career even when he was being treated poorly due to his color and culture.
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Thanks for the chance to read this book in exchange for honest feedback. I actually received a print copy of this ARC so I decided to request it on NetGalley so I could provide feedback in multiple platforms. 

I don't think that I need to provide any summary thoughts, as many other readers have done an excellent job at this. I think ultimately my thoughts about this book are a mixed bag. While reading, I wondered if it was me or the book -- why wasn't I finding any of it funny? It's satire, and I love satire. I love modernity and relevance, especially in humor! However, it was reminding me of a bad Trevor Noah skit.... that is, until I started reading past about 25-30 pages in. I think it was more so me than anything. 

The book was funny and engaging most of the time, and smart and clever some of the time. I thought that this would make a really great audiobook (which I have read reviews saying it definitely is). The best audience for this book is probably depending on sense of humor.... I think also that it just depends on your mood. Sometimes it's just nice to have something that entertains you. I am glad that Black Buck is having a great success across bookish platforms and hope the author is encouraged to write more novels. I am glad to have a copy of this book physically so I can pass it along to another reader to enjoy. Thanks for the chance to read through this book!
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I don't think this is a bad book and in fact I think that many people will enjoy it. I appreciated the social-commentary-satire-dark-comedy and think that it was done very well. Realistic characters in over-the-top situations. Ultimately, that's just not something that can hold my attention for an entire novel length work. However, if that is your kind of thing, definitely pick this up.
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This is a story about a young Black man, Darren, who ends up shifting his career from being a Starbucks manager to a salesperson at a tech start up. This book satirizes tech start up culture, with over the top frat house energy and performance stress. Along with that, it sharply highlights pervasive workplace racism from microaggressions to plain aggression. This story is very much focused on Darren's journey - the good and bad impacts of this new job on Darren's sense of self, ambition, relationships and community.

While the satire itself was well done, I didn't find this book to be funny as satire is not typically my type of humor. This is mostly a plot book written as a sales development book by Darren himself. As a result, most of the secondary characters didn't seem to have a lot of depth outside of their relationship with Darren.

While I had trouble understanding many of Darren's motivations this book highlights kind of microaggressions that many, perhaps all, POC face, in the workplace. It also sharply points out the dramatic defensiveness and aggression that Black folks and POC, face when either calling out the issues in the workplace or attempting to support and boost one another.

I wish that I could say that this book was a very over the top satire, but unfortunately, I think it's much closer to reality that most of us would hope.

Thank you to @netgalley and @houghtonmifflinharcourt for an ecopy of this book!
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Black Buck was such a unique reading experience.  The author writes the story as if he is sitting at table with you and the two of you are having a conversation.  It is an extremely fresh writing style that kept me pulled into the story and wanting to know what is going to happen to the characters.  There were several parts of the story that I had not anticipated and was kept at the edge of my seat.  The author addresses racism and inequities with bluntness and candor and a reader can't help but see the work that still needs to be done in the world of business.
I thought this book was entertaining and I would definitely recommend it.
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Very Wolf of Wall Street with more racism and microagressions. There are so interesting sales tips but overall, was not for me. Would not recommend to others.
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Very torn on this book. While it was a different type of book I normally read, I was also interested in what he had to say. Somewhat of a sales manual sometimes, but also a wild ride. While there was a lot of racist things in this book,   It was interesting in see the world through him.
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I can't even begin to categorize my final read of February. It certainly does not fit neatly into a box of any genre. Described as satirical, yes, some of it is, but it is equally jarring, cringeworthy (in the behavior of many of the characters), a wake up call, a glimpse into one young black man's life, and the perils of selling your soul to gain wealth and power. Written as part memoir, part sales pitch and part fiction all from the voice of our protagonist, Darren(Buck)Vender. From the initial pages, I was reminded of the show Billions; the outlandish and almost unbelievable workplace environment (where Darren is the only POC when he is hired), the extremes people will go to, the manic energy, which of course includes copious amounts of coffee, drugs and alcohol. Every day at the offices of Sumwun in NYC is both hellish and a party all rolled up into one. Darren grew up in the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn with a string, supportive and loving mother. He is obviously extremely intelligent, having graduated fast valedictorian from Bronx Science.   He's had the same girlfriend since middle school and they are equally supportive of each other. One thing I loved about this book was this small family unit of Darren's and the depiction of the women as both strong and loving. Daren's mother installs a confidence in him and makes him believe he truly can be anything he wants to be if he works hard. Be careful what you wish for. Thank you to @houghtonmifflincourt and @netgalley for the free e-book in exchange for an honest review. #goodreads #bookstagrammer #bookreviewer #blackbuck #netgalley #goodreads #booksandmrdarcy #withhernosestuckinabook❤️😂
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