Cover Image: Black Buck

Black Buck

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Member Reviews

Excuse me for a sec, I need to catch my breath, because this novel took me on a JOURNEY.

Mateo Askaripour's debut Black Buck is a wildly batshit absurdist satire on startup culture, racism in America, media fuckery, New York City, and so much more. Buck himself was a fascinating character—and one whom you never quite get a grip on but feel okay about in the process.

In a weird way, this novel sort of reminded me of C. D. Payne's Youth in Revolt in terms of how ridiculous the stakes got after a certain point. (And I don't mean that in a bad way!) Still, this is one of the most original books I've read all year, and it'll definitely make you feel all sorts of things.

Content warning: Overt racism and white supremacy, bullying, harassment, violence, murder
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To be honest  I requested the book based on the title 
I wondered who would title their book Black Buck'. And what would the story line be about?
At times I wanted to put the book down. But I continued hoping the plot would have some redeeming qualities.  After I read the last page  I said to myself what did I just read. How many  comments in the book were borderline questionable. I kept asking myself is this a satirical book?
All I can say at the end is read Black Buck and make your own judgments
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I was drawn in by the description of Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour. This book wasn’t quite what I was expecting in the best way. It’s a powerful story that walks the reader through the sales process in an autobiographical format. Buck, the narrator and protagonist, speaks to the audience throughout giving advice much like Saved by the Bell and first season of Sex and the City. It reminded me of Life of Pi which tells you it’s a novel right there on the cover, but the book is so well written and I was so immersed in the story I kept thinking these were real life events. 

Darren aka Buck goes from managing a Starbucks to being the only black salesperson at a tech startup. He then sets up a way to “each one teach one” and help other people of color with sales training and a network. This book was deeper than expected and really made me think. I’m sure I’ll be thinking about it for years to come. Askaripour is a gifted writer and created wonderful characters in this twisty book. Pre-order it now, you won’t regret it!
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It was very readable and I was interested right away, I realize that the book was a lesson, not about selling, but about "being".  I guess I'm torn because the book was heavier than I expected, and was uncomfortable for me. So on that level, it worked. On a selfish level, I needed a mindless, escape book. This book is definitely worth reading!
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Debut author Mateo Askaripour’s biting satire about the world of sales and the American Dream is a timely, witty novel that’s framed as an autobiography/self-help book. Knowing that Askaripour was an actual salesperson, though, I can’t help but wonder how much of his real life is revealed within Black Buck. 

If you’ve ever experienced real discrimination (as opposed to the “persecution” that some white people claim they’re facing when others gain the same rights/privileges they’ve always had), then you’ll be able to relate to at least part of titular character’s story. 

Although Buck is in his early 20s when the novel begins, this is definitely a coming of age story. The author asks the reader to face the ugliness of racism in all its forms, ranging from overt to micro-expressions. If you’re not a POC and the book makes you uncomfortable, be sure to keep reading as that’s the entire point. You should feel uncomfortable with the obvious roadblocks that are put in the way for young black men like Buck. 

As Buck begins to achieve his dreams, he allows the influences around him to twist and change his personal character. It was painful to watch him go through this, especially with the knowledge that he had been a kind, caring person before the drive to succeed at all costs got in his way. Even worse is the knowledge that succeeding in a traditionally white industry seemingly required him to become a callous individual. This is a major indictment of the white washed world of Corporate America, and it’s something that we as a society really need to own up to and change. 

Fortunately, Buck finds himself again. And when he does, he’s able to put all the skills he learned from his career as the sole Black employee at a fanatical, cult-like sales company to good use. 

If you’re offended by foul language and sex in books, this one probably isn’t for you (which is a real shame as there’s much to learn from the author’s perspective). The book is well-written and entertaining. As a fellow author, I’m very excited by the level of talent that’s displayed in this book, and I expect even greater things from Askaripour in the future. 

Black Buck made me literally laugh out loud at times. It also made me sob and infuriated me. As a white person, I have one thing to say to my fellow white readers: We can and must do better. Start by examining your beliefs and inner prejudices through Black written literature like Black Buck.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing an ARC. This review contains my honest, unbiased opinion.
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An unambitious twenty-two-year-old, Darren lives in a Bed-Stuy brownstone with his mother, who wants nothing more than to see him live up to his potential as the valedictorian of Bronx Science. But Darren is content working at Starbucks in the lobby of a Midtown office building, hanging out with his girlfriend, Soraya, and eating his mother’s home-cooked meals. All that changes when a chance encounter with Rhett Daniels, the silver-tongued CEO of Sumwun, NYC’s hottest tech startup, results in an exclusive invitation for Darren to join an elite sales team on the thirty-sixth floor.

After enduring a “hell week” of training, Darren, the only black person in the company, reimagines himself as “Buck,” a ruthless salesman unrecognizable to his friends and family. But when things turn tragic at home and Buck feels he’s hit rock bottom, he begins to hatch a plan to help young people of color infiltrate America’s sales force, setting off a chain of events that forever changes the game.- Goodreads

About 7 chapters into this book, I thought, this author has no problem being the only Black person in a room. But then that changed. He has no problem/wants to be the smartest person in the room. I don't rock with that. Those two thoughts were shaped by the writing style, the little break the fourth wall messages and how he flat out says I am here to teach you something.

I don't have an issue with an author saying "message" in their works. However, Darren lost all credibility for me when he allowed white executes to change his name, make racial jokes at him, humiliate him and made him kiss their ass. All for a dollar. 

Yes, for a dollar. Darren didn't know what he wanted to do with his life. His excuse of failing was bull because he was valedictorian for his high school. He wanted to be the smartest person in the room always, which is why he stayed at Starbucks so long. He wanted to be looked up too. He didn't want to earn respect or work for new knowledge. He was comfortable where he was at. But pressure sure does a lot of things for you. 

You know how there are books that are not just not written for you. Like you know the book is written to enlighten, teach or just let a particular race know what is going on? This is one of those books. 

Darren is an idiot. 

1 Pickle
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Black Buck is one of those books you don't really know what to expect when you start reading, But wow. Clear your schedule before you read this one, it's so hard to put down. It's satire but it makes you look at how you see the "American dream". A great read,
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