Rating: 4 / 5
BLACK BUCK by Mateo Askaripour was our second #SaturdayBookstaClub book pick for February. I didn’t read a lot about this one going into it, but I was excited to give it a try!
BLACK BUCK follows Darren, later to be known as Buck, a young man who is working at Starbucks when he decides to sell one of his regular customers on something other than his regular drink. The drink is a success and Darren gains the man’s attention. It turns out that Rhett is in the market for salespersons to sell his product and make him some money. Darren is immediately rebranded as Buck and put through the ringer of rigorous training and brutal initiation. It is enough to make most people want to give up, but Darren sees this as his one opportunity to provide for his mother and advance himself.
As his story progresses, Darren shifts his persona more and more to Buck with his eyes on the prize of success in the competitive world of sales. When the company takes some hits, the company puts their sole Black employee front and center to defend the company. In time Buck sees more and more the power he can have in the sales industry to help out other young people of color, a move which begins to spiral out of control.
This is a book that I was very hooked on, but I wasn’t always sur that I loved it as I was going along. In the end it was an absolutely a fantastic read! I am absolutely certain that I was not born to be in sales and though this book obviously provides a satirical extreme case, it certainly drove home that point. As Darren got drawn into the world of “Buck”, his old life and relationships severely suffered. I think I sided more with his girlfriend and his mother in worrying about his extreme personality shift.
I really enjoyed the creative touches the author put into the story. The book begins with an author’s note from Buck and there are notes to the reader (or listener on audio) throughout the text. It is written as if a self-help style book. Speaking of the audio, the narration on this one was absolutely fantastic. I thought that the narrator did a lot to bring the story to life which added to the overall story!
This is a book that is infuriating at time, but thought provoking throughout!