The Sellout by Paul Beatty
Publication Date: 5th May 2016
“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―on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles―the narrator of The Sellout resigns himself to the fate of lower-middle-class Californians: “I’d die in the same bedroom I’d grown up in, looking up at the cracks in the stucco ceiling that’ve been there since ’68 quake.” 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.”
My Thoughts & Review
Even before starting this book deep down I just knew I wouldn’t like this one. I really should have listened to myself and not bothered reading. But, I needed to find something to read for the prompt read a Booker Prize Winning Book for the 2020 TBR Reading challenge and this one the only one that remotely looked interesting. Oh, and the fact that I had already read a couple of the other ones that came up on the list. I should also have probably also DNFed this book but I was really hoping it would turn out to be a wonderful read.
The Sellout started of interesting but then I lost all interest. The narrative started of very strong. It was very convincing but as the book progressed the narrative became very repetitive and lost its momentum in keeping me interested. This also came across in the characters. In fact, I lost all interest in them before I even hit half way.
I also found the plot a little confusing it. I don’t know to me this book just felt like it was all over the place, and had no real direction. It just didn’t flow for me.
Now I know this book covered some important issues such as racism BUT I felt they just weren’t covered in enough detail. I found Beatty started off talking about one issue but then he went onto another and didn’t really cover much details. In my opinion this book could have been so much more.
I can definitely see why some people would love this book so much, but sadly this book wasn’t for me and I wouldn’t personally recommend adding it to the TBR but as we all know me and books that have won awards and prizes don’t normally get on.
Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Leave a comment below and let’s have a chat.