I bought The Sellout by Paul Beatty shortly after it won The Booker prize in 2016, though I had never got around to reading it. However after the issues with the black lives matter this year i wrote a post about how my reading life will change which you can read here, So it got moved up my TBR pile.
A biting satire about a young man’s isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, Paul Beatty’s The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game. It challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement, the father-son relationship, and the holy grail of racial equality―the black Chinese restaurant.
Born in the “agrarian ghetto” of Dickens― Raised by a single father, a controversial sociologist, he spent his childhood as the subject in racially charged psychological studies. He is led to believe that his father’s pioneering work will result in a memoir that will solve his family’s financial woes. But when his father is killed in a police shoot-out, he realizes there never was a memoir. All that’s left is the bill for a drive-thru funeral.
Fueled by this deceit and the general disrepair of his hometown, the narrator sets out to right another wrong: Dickens has literally been removed from the map to save California from further embarrassment. Enlisting the help of the town’s most famous resident―the last surviving Little Rascal, Hominy Jenkins―he initiates the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school, which lands him in the Supreme Court.
The Sellout is written in a conversational manner, which means that that the book is just someone talking to you about the events, which means that the N word is used a lot throughout the book, To my ears though it was just the narrator talking in his normal voice.
This was one of those books that you can read as a really enjoyable satire, with the odd funny joke, in the mix. The jokes allow the novel to deal with a number of issues in a way that makes it both easier for the reader to understand and allows the book to deal with issues in such a way that makes the novel less heavy than it otherwise would have been.
What i liked about the novel was how it made the idea of going back to segregation in the town, to be a very logical step, particularly by the use of the Hominy Jenkins a former member of the Little Rascals, who’s sole role in their films was to take the jokes which we would now consider to be politically incorrect.
This part of the book showed that the only way Hominy was important was because of racism in the films and he missed this part of his life. As it said in the book:-
“Is It my fault that the only tangible benefit to come out of the civil rights movement is that black people aren’t as afraid of dogs as they used to be?….”Prologue, The Sellout
So because he lost what he had, hominy just wanted to go back. Almost like how everybody looks back and can only remember the best of times.
Who should read The Sellout? This is one of those books that everyone should read as it takes a subject of racism in the modern world by taking a satirical look at it. In addition to this The Sellout by Paul Beatty is a really great read.
Meat The Writer
Paul Beatty (born 1962 in Los Angeles) is a contemporary African-American author. Beatty received an MFA in creative writing from Brooklyn College and an MA in psychology from Boston University. He is a 1980 graduate of El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills, California.
In 1990, Paul Beatty was crowned the first ever Grand Poetry Slam Champion of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. One of the prizes for winning that championship title was the book deal which resulted in his first volume of poetry, Big Bank Takes Little Bank. This would be followed by another book of poetry Joker, Joker, Deuce as well as appearances performing his poetry on MTV and PBS (in the series The United States of Poetry). In 1993, he was awarded a grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award.
Comment below if you have read this book or the news this year has changed the books you have read this year.
Like, follow or Share if you want similar content.
Above All KEEP SAFE And TREAT PEOPLE FAIRLY