Cover Image: Black Buck

Black Buck

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Member Reviews

3.5

"I didn't know what to expect when I began reading Black Buck by debut author, Mateo Askaripour. This book took me through a variety of emotions. Overall, I found it to be an ok read but slightly disjointed at times.
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Black Buck is what happens when The Wolf Of Wall Street meets Diversity Day (you know that one episode in the first season of The Office). While I understand this book was meant to be satirical, it just didn't land for me the way it did for others. The social commentary on systematic racism in the workplace Askaripour tried to include got lost because the storyline was completely over-the-top and messy. With that being said, I have seen many other readers really enjoy this title, so maybe some of the issues are with me and not the book itself. Pick this one up at your own risk.
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Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for giving me the opportunity to review this book. I wanted to love this book but felt that it missed the mark.
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I did not enjoy this book as much as the description led me to believe I would, I had to DNF half way through.
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Dear Reader,

Are you interested in a book that pokes at problematic white supremacist and capitalist society, sometimes using satire to do so? If you answered yes, you're in for a treat.

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Synopsis: Black Buck centers Darren's climb through the white hetero-normative heirarchy of the sales world as it's token Black American. He shares insights on the challenge of working his way to the top--from Starbucks to Sumwun to ?--as he transforms into a Black salesman on a mission.

The way Black Buck is written was brilliant, bouncing from Darren talking to reader/listener, stream of conscious with emotions, and the retelling of his journey. It read like a film! I found myself nodding in agreement at the righteous anger of Darren, cringing at the self-importance and bigoted-ness of Clyde and others. Black Buck's message is a very clear and important roasting and social commentary on the problem of the sales world (and general workforce) in the United States. It reads very close to satire with how blunt, ironic and outright ridiculous some things are, and this definitely adds to the reading experience.

In addition to reading the ARC, I also listened to the audiobook via the Libby app & my local library. I found the audiobook to be especially well-narrated--great emotional infliction and generally nice to listen to. If reading certain things triggers you, you might want to double check before reading this one. Without spoiling, loss is one for me. I found it well-written, but it no doubt affected my reading experience (-0.5 rating).

3.5/5 stars for Black Buck! Thank you to NetGalley, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Mariner Books for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I really loved the satire in this novel. As a high school teacher I see all the pressure placed on my students by their parents and this novel speaks to that aspect a bit. With all of the praise that this novel received, it was certainly earned.
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I'll be honest - when I first started reading Black Buck, I was pretty thrown off. I didn't totally realize the book's plot and thought it was fully based on Starbucks based on tons of other reviews I've seen about it, and their accompanying pictures on Bookstagram. Sure, Starbucks plays a role, but not that major. After reading Black Buck, I've seen comparisons to Sorry to Bother You and The Wolf of Wall Street and YES! YES! YES! Entirely accurate. 


"Life, like sales, comes with an endless amount of opportunities to do the wrong thing to win. But understand that whether you take those opportunities or not, consequences still follow. And they won't always be in your favor."


This book is intense and it's definitely satirical. I think it's important to go into the book realizing it's satire, because that was one of the things that made the book more challenging for me to read. I enjoyed it but it also felt incredibly over the top... like ridiculously over the top. What I found to be most difficult for me though was the timeline. I felt that there were weird jumps between some of the chapters/sections, and with everything that was happening, the timeline just did not make sense to me. 

But really, the book is good. It's written as a book within the book itself. The main character, Darren (aka Buck) is writing the book as a guide for salespeople, specifically those of color. So it's an interesting concept, with some good advice, but it's also fast-paced, entertaining, and leaves you with things to think about regardless of race. I feel like the things I'm still mulling over may be different than the things a BIPOC may be thinking about. 

Black Buck is amusing, uncomfortable, frustrating, cringe-worthy, smart, and informative. It's a hyperbolic take on the workplace and how non-White, non-straight, non-cis, non-male constituents are often treated and taken for granted. Reading this entire book is uncomfortable, but so informative and so thought-provoking. I highly recommend, and I definitely anticipate reading more from Mateo Askaripour.
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I love this book because of its uniqueness and the way story unfolded was interesting. The start was great but the ending was way over the top. Rest assured, it was a good and beautiful read. 

Thank you Netgalley and publishers for the arc of this masterpiece.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.  This was a solid 3.5-4 stars for me. The first half started off super strong and the second half took a turn I wasn’t expecting. I really liked the authors writing style. Some likable characters became in likable and vice versa - I liked that. I know this story is meant to be an extreme of certain topics, but like the exaggeration in some parts isn’t far off from the truth. Overall this story has a good pace, and made me laugh out loud several times. I’ll be thinking about this one for a while.
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I started and finished Mateo Askaripour's hilarious and deep debut novel, Black Buck. Darren lives with his mother and when he is not working as a shift supervisor at Starbucks, he is spending time with his girlfriend. Darren was valedictorian of his competitive high school in New York City, but didn't go to college. His mother wants him to find his niche, and when a start-up CEO offers Darren a position as a salesman at his company, Darren reluctantly accepts. As the only Black man at the startup, Darren has to live with the constant microaggressions (a running gag is everyone at the company telling him he looks like every Black man from Morgan Freeman to Barack Obama) and outright hostile racism. This book is phenomenal, I literally could not put it down, I can see why Jenna Bush Hager chose it as her January book club pick for the Today Show.  I love a book when I don't where it's going, and it suprises me. I give it my highest recommendation.
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What a journey this novel is! It was so beautifully written! I recommend this to everyone I meet! I loved it so much.
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A bit outrageous of a book, but that's the point. Enjoyed it, though sometimes pretty uncomfortable. Reminiscent of being around incessant microaggressions in the workplace but blown up comically.
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I put off starting this books for reasons I don’t even know. While some parts were satirically cringeworthy, it kept my attention and I enjoyed the journey. Some of the time jumps did catch me off guard, but was easy to get back on track. I can’t wait to see what Askaripour comes up with next.
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This is Wolf of Wallstreet with a black lead and it was a ride!  Our book club had the best time discussing it.  We thought some of the pacing felt a bit disjointed but overall, we found the novel incredibly entertaining.  Mateo Askaripour is an author to watch for sure.
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Thanks to Netgalley for an electronic ARC of this book.

Is Black Buck supposed to be satire? I think so, but "satirical novel" didn't jump out at me. Darren works at Starbucks  and gets offered a sales job at a start-up. He's the only Black employee and is called "Buck" (reference to him working at Starbucks previously). The story is his journey of losing and then finding himself. I found it to be a little up and down,
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Interesting premise with a funny narrative style and funny side characters. The beginning and middle of the book are stronger, and the ending kinda fell off a bit for me. I do like how Darren/Buck learns a lot of lessons along the way, but I don't like at all how the story ends.
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Admittedly, satire isn't normally my thing, but this sounded so interesting--and it was! This book is structured kind of like a memoir meets a self-help book, which worked better in the beginning than it did later. There is some thoughtful commentary on workaholism culture and racism, but the author misses the boat on his treatment of women and disabled or other-abled people. While some of the writing is intelligent and witty, some of it is cringe-y and so unrealistic; some of the characters motivations are questionable and not clearly developed. This is a strong debut. 3.5 mixed feelings stars.
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I absolutely loved Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour. It was funny while at the same time being unsettling. I read a lot of books by women and that I don't think the men in my life would enjoy, but this was refreshing because I feel like I can recommend it to ANYONE! A great commentary on workplace harrassment and racial microagressions. It is listed as satire but the haunting part is how many of the "absurd" parts are truly rooted in reality. The voice of the main character was fresh and fun. GREAT boook!
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I received a copy of this book to review from Netgalley and all options are my own.
A book full of twists and turns paired with good writing. This book details the rise of Buck, formerly Darren and the changes, both good and bad, that arise as a result of this. It includes many themes including racism. There is a lot of depth in this story to explore and it is an addictive read.
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I really enjoyed Black It is an interesting portrayal of how people change when they earn more money and success isn’t always a good thing. Black Buck is a great story which does a great job of portraying race issues.
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