Tired of binging The Office? Here's your new workplace satire starring a salesman trying to beat the corporate system.
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Why I love it
Jenna Bush Hager
Co-host, TODAY with Hoda & Jenna
Black Buck is my favorite type of book: a surprise, a fresh gift. It is one that upon reading the summary on the back, I thought, a storyline centering around a sales startup in New York City? This is not for me. But as I began reading (the brilliant!!) Mateo Askaripour’s debut novel, I found myself obsessed with the page-turner.
Written in a fresh and unique literary voice, the book is a satirical “how-to” for becoming a salesman that tells the story of 22-year-old Bed-Stuy resident Darren. Plucked from his happy life as a Starbucks manager after an encounter with a tech executive, Darren finds himself the only Black salesman at an eccentric (READ: bizarre!) tech start-up. Soon, Darren takes on a new persona as a ferocious salesman under his company-given nickname, “Buck.” When tragedy strikes at home, Darren develops a new plan to help young people of color break down the barriers of the sales world.
Black Buck is raw and intimate—and a title I knew our book club readers needed to read as we begin this new year with a fresh start. Alternating moments of satirical humor with heartbreaking realities, this is a book that will have readers both laughing and crying. Askaripour’s compelling debut novel is thoroughly entertaining while addressing relevant themes: of race, ambition, and family. Let’s kick off this new year together rallying around Mateo Askaripour and his thrilling story that is strikingly vibrant and refreshing—leaving the reader wanting more!
An unambitious 22 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.
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Its so easy to say this book is just “satire,” but it is the most raw, honest, funny, heartbreaking, & infuriating look into race, class & the glamorized startup world I’ve ever read. READ THIS BOOK.
Grosse Pointe Park, MI
Snarky, raw, heartbreaking & emotional. This is a satirical story w truth in every page. I couldn’t predict the story, I was emotionally invested in the success of Buck & couldn’t put this book down!
Aspiring writers should use ‘Buck’ as a benchmark of quality in a debut. Aspiring decent humans should use it as a guide to action & reaction to opportunity...& to crappy humans’ barbaric behaviors
I never cringed (at the “color-blind” & racist characters), laughed & cried (the mom & paying it forward) the way I did reading this novel. I recommended this to everyone I know who enjoys reading!
Cincinnati , OH
This book was entertaining but also gave me so much to think about. I have worked in tech startups and could relate to some of the storyline. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is a big topic right now.
Long Island City, NY
This book took me on quite the journey. While reading, I definitely felt every emotion under the sun! It will make you uncomfortable, but it will also make you laugh. Amazing debut! Read like a movie.
I choose this book for the sales narrative, which might I add was a bit close to home! I kept reading and loved this book for the story line and racial struggle I see every day in the corporate world.
Written like a business self help book but really a social commentary. It was an emotional roller coaster. I had to stop and think about all I was digesting. This is going to be the book of 2021!
This book blew me away! It was funny, gritty, but most of all this book has so much heart. With beautifully developed characters and a complicated, yet lovable main character, this book is too good!!
I loved it! I enjoyed its unpredictable storyline. It was funny, insightful and heartbreaking all at the same time. You’ll definitely want to keep turning the pages. A great debut by this author!
Black Buck was a surprising book, and though it defied some of my expectations, I enjoyed it. Each part feels very different, almost like three different books. It's great, even if the end upsets me!
I really liked this book, a fantastic debut novel. I thought this was really well done, and shows what can happen when we get caught up in power and success, and lose sight of what is most important.
Rocky River, OH
A hilarious yet thought-provoking satire of a black man who is given an opportunity to leave working at a coffee shop to work in sales. I loved every page. Lots of twists the reader won't see coming.
Mount Rainier, MD
Too raw and harsh to be considered hilarious as advertised, though there were tiny moments of levity. Otherwise, this was a powerful gut punch. I appreciated the message more than I enjoyed reading.
Witty, relatable, and full of emotion. I felt as if I grew alongside Buck during his journey. Loved the ending, as angry as it made me, because it was real. Loved the Black Panther Party parallels.
Grand Rapids, MI
This reminded me of Sorry to Bother You, minus the half-horse soldiers, plus SO MUCH HEART. This particular equation, for me, equals something as soul-stirring and memorable as it was fun to read.
Such a great telling of the rise and fall of a man trying to achieve greatness. The story gets a little outlandish with antics that pan out like in a movie, but I believe it was intentional fun.
Valley village, CA
One of the best debuts I’ve read in a long time. Fast paced writing style, the story had a clear vision and momentum. Buck is a great character, with strong development. This book was fantastic.
An absorbing satire about a young black man's struggle to game the system trying to hold him back. I loved the page-turning story, and the fresh & humorous narrative voice. Highly recommend!
Mateo Askaripour manages to take a serious topic and weave humor into every page, making this a top book of 2021. I can't remember the last time I loved a book as much on the first read.