Black Buck Summary
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.
Black Buck is a hilarious, razor-sharp skewering of America’s workforce; it is a propulsive, crackling debut that explores ambition and race, and makes way for a necessary new vision of the American dream.
My Review of Black Buck
I haven’t been doing my due diligence as a blogger recently — as in, I used to keep spreadsheets for releases I was looking forward to or reviewing, and typically on top of the reading trends. Instead, I’ve really just been reading anything sent my way, and I’m so glad I stumbled upon Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour.
I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t get out of this book what I expected to — somewhere along the way, someone marketed it to me as a satire (not sure if I picked this up from the actual publisher or not, but this is how I went into it regardless), which I don’t think was entirely correct. I did have a friend on Instagram who was more convinced than I, but to me, the issues dealt with in Black Buck read a little too accurate to today’s atmosphere to fall into that category.
Even though it wasn’t necessarily a satire, boy was this book funny. At one point I literally read out a quote for my mother, which I never do, but I just had to share because I was nearly in tears. So, it did live up to the hype in terms of humor. But what I didn’t expect was how serious things were gonna get. I don’t think I could have predicted the emotions I was going to feel going into this book, or any of the twists and turns. The first page and the last are from vastly different stories. A few times in the middle I cried. Hard. And not just because the writing was funny, either.
If I had to pitch this, I would say Black Buck is like Wolf of Wall Street meets Qualityland (Which might be a slightly obscure reference considering that book got nowhere near the attention it deserved. And YES it’s a satire but that’s not the parallel I’m trying to draw here.). This might not be the read for everyone, but I definitely think you should at least try to pick it up if you are even remotely intrigued — I’m glad I did.
Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour is scheduled to be released January 5, 2021. Although Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and libro.fm provided me with a free review copy, this did not in any way affect my review.