This is a stunning debut novel from Mateo Askaripour. He has an original voice and style full of racial angst. Perhaps my mature white background found it difficult to comprehend at times! The “patois” is often challenging but enlightening.
So Buck (nickname from his time at Starbucks) has a happy relationship with his mother, girlfriend and street buddies. After a chance meeting with Rhett (an entrepreneur) in Starbucks, he changes his job to a trainee sales executive. The training is excruciating and Buck is subjected to abuse and racial taunts by Clyde (a Trumpian director of the firm). Buck is very aware that he is in a white environment. This is a big conflict for Buck – many of his street friends think that he has sold out! His family along with Rhett are very supportive and encourage him to accept the training methods.
Buck makes rapid progress and becomes a star salesman. It is a time-consuming job and the relationship with his family and girlfriend breaks down. Rhett is becoming a huge influence on his life. Buck does not want to see the dramatic change in his attitude. All the time Buck is railing against the lack of opportunity and freedom for non-white people. This becomes pivotal and Buck creates his own sales training company for non-white people. This eventually brings him into conflict with Rhett and especially Clyde who has by this time resigned from the company because of Buck.
By the end of the story, Buck has found his freedom. His freedom may be significantly different from yours! As well as the main theme you also find yourself learning much about sales techniques! His writing style is quite unique and he provides side-bars to enhance your understanding of “selling”. Not just selling a product but selling yourself. For example, when your voices doubts with questions in your sales-speak – learn the following:
Reader: This is one hundred percent true. If you talk like this? People will think you don’t know what the hell you’re saying? So, when speaking, picture ending everything you say with a period. Periods – confidence. Confidence – success.
There are plenty of these little jewels. Not only are the racial observations very pertinent but his own journey is interesting. The final outcome is unexpected. The whole story is well written with many wry observations and witty episodes: a book for modern times.
Preview copy provided by Netgalley. Publishing date: 27 May 2021