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Search tags: the-sellout
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text 2019-01-09 23:37
Not to my liking (DNF)
The Sellout: A Novel - Paul Beatty

Besides being on the bestseller list, it came highly recommended to me by a patron at my branch who felt so strongly about it that she went to the shelf, brought it to me at circulation, and insisted I check it out immediately. I hadn't heard anything about this book before she placed it in my hands despite the praise it had received from the literati of the world. This book is a conundrum to me. It has been touted as an uproariously hilarious satirical take on race and culture in America. I'll agree with the latter part of that statement but I didn't find it funny in the least. In fact, I found that the 'jokes' were not at all to my taste. This is probably due to the amount of books on race and culture I've read over the last year but I just couldn't read this book without feeling thoroughly depressed at what felt almost hyper realistic. Now I made it halfway through this book so I feel like I got the overall gist and flavor of the thing. The narrator (name not revealed beyond the nickname BonBon) lives on a farm in the middle of a Californian ghetto called Dickens where you're more likely to see cows on the side of the road than a white person walking their dog. The book starts with him being called before the Supreme Court on an issue of dragging black people's progress back to the time of slavery...because he has a slave of his own. I don't know what this book was but I do know that I didn't like it and I have no intention of finishing it in the future. Progress: 145 out of 289 pages.

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-12-19 01:38
Satire for a Black American experience
The Sellout: A Novel - Paul Beatty

Hard to write a book on racism that is not angry or condescending. 

 

The success of the book is it contain a lot of very serious contents on racism, and how the Black Americans experience is not really understood by other people who are not going through the similar experience in life. 

 

All the main characters are Black Americans, lot of activists without the the protest and speech. The story is around a man who was raised quite cruelly as a psychology experiment by his father. 

 

Then he met someone who always play minor characters on TV series. This person is a submissive and he attached himself to this guy. 

 

Now they lived in a town that has been rezoned and removed from the map. They wanted that identity back.

 

So they put up fake road signs and white lane line on road. 

 

The story moved very slowly for me. Make one think of segregation and other stuff that is based on race. 

 

Well written and thought provoking. Reading this for December 23  Festivus  Book task: Read any comedy, parody, or satire. 

 

 

 

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text 2018-12-18 09:42
Reading progress update: I've read 254 out of 304 pages.
The Sellout: A Novel - Paul Beatty

This book is so strange

 

Using a submissive to highlight the wrong of slavery. And use segregation to highlight the wrong of racism. 

 

The main character going through all that stuff just to get the lost home town back on the map. 

 

Seems random but thoughtful. Make me think about more about the mind of those who are oppressed yet not able to escape this prejudices even when racism is clearly labelled and exposed. 

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text 2018-12-04 07:22
Reading progress update: I've read 80 out of 304 pages.
The Sellout: A Novel - Paul Beatty

It starts off funny and then got very strange. 

 

The main character is a black guy and raised by a weird man treating him as a human subject of old behavioral psychology experiment subject. Which is cruel, odd and has no consideration for human developmental of phobia based on young childhood experience. 

 

When this man get older, he faced other strange men who want to kill himself. The whole book is strange and it is telling the reader of a black guy experience of his culture and his surrounding. 

 

Reading it for 23 Dec book task. 

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review 2017-03-02 21:42
Excellent examination of race in America
The Sellout: A Novel - Paul Beatty

I won’t pretend that I understood the whole book. Every sentence demanded reflection, as every sentence was ambiguous, filled with double entendres and puns, some of which I did not quite comprehend immediately, and some I never quite understood. Still, written with wit and charm, eloquence and fluidity, it is nothing, if not brilliant. Once there was a fictional community called Dickens which had slowly devolved into nothing but a few streets with no identity. Our main character and narrator, nicknamed The Sellout, was raised (if you can believe it), on an urban farm in a ghetto in Los Angeles, by his now deceased Social Scientist father (buried illegally on the farm), who bombarded him with humiliating, social experiments during his formative years, to expose the various hypocrisies of life. His father was also a “black whisperer” often called upon in moments of crisis to restore calm and order. The Sellout took over his job, but was not as effective since his personality was not as large as his father’s. He also works the farm growing vegetables and fruits, raising and nurturing animals, and sharing the results of his efforts with the residents, particularly his Satsumas, a mandarin orange breed renowned for their juice and loved by all. The Sellout conceived of the idea to revive Dickens, now referred to as a “locale”, with no name on any map. He wanted to bring Dickens back to its “former glory”, and with Dickens, he wanted to also bring back segregation. He encountered both support and opposition. When this novel opens, our narrator has been arrested and accused of violating constitutionally protected civil rights. The case has risen to the upper levels of the court system and is now at the very pinnacle, The Supreme Court. From there it works backwards to explain the reason for the criminal charge and the trial. In the course of his efforts to resurrect the town and segregation, he was aided by his “slave”, Hominy, who was a former Little Rascal of television fame. Among other things, they had drawn lines around the community to define its boundaries, and had displayed racist signs demanding space for whites only in various places. The Sellout had created a posh private school for whites, in the heart of Dickens, simply by putting up a sign for it. The idea of it had caught on, and it was spurring the residents to be more responsible, work harder and to be greater achievers. His very violations of the laws of the land seemed to have actually promoted civil rights by creating an environment where everyone seemed to know what was expected of them and had given them a desire to conform and succeed. So the court had a conundrum on its hands. His violations had accomplished what the amendments had never done. For me, it wasn’t until the last few pages that the book became whole, with a clear message. It was writ large by the author in a sentence in a paragraph near the end: “he plucked out your subconscious and beat you silly with it, not until you were unrecognizable, but until you were recognizable.” Subtly and overtly, humorously and seriously, he highlights everything that is wrong with society, and he does it by blindsiding the reader with allusions. Although he maligns almost everyone and every accepted more, in some way, he also rarely directly names those he mocks or praise, rather he alludes to them, like his reference to the black dude in the White House. He exposes the false promises made by those in power, the unjust justice department; he ridicules the titles and subject matter of books as in “The Adventures of Tom Soarer”, the shortcomings of ghetto life and the ghetto mentality, drugs, infidelity and crime, and the broken system of education, among other things too numerous to mention. Black privilege is exploited and white privilege is mocked. There will often be a smile on your lips and even an occasional laugh out loud moment, but then the reader will be brought back to earth by the double meanings and the reality that they represent. In short, he turns all accepted mores inside out and although I didn’t understand all of it, I was never bored, and even when overwhelmed by the sometimes convoluted messages and ideations, I was always drawn back to it. In The Sellout and in Dickens, we see the failures and successes of society as the author pokes fun at and recasts all of life’s events with often bizarre examples which force the reader to confront the very issue he is lampooning with sincere and serious thoughtfulness. Racism is totally exposed on all fronts. Beatty exposes society’s ills, the behavior of the guilty and the innocent, and in so doing, he reopens the wounds of society with deliberateness and then seems to also offer a pathway to, or the possibility of, its healing.

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