Book Review: The Sellout #ManBookers2016

Also in the Series :

Man Bookers 2016 Shortlist


Set in regions of Los Angeles, The Sellout by Paul Beatty is the social satire portraying the unfortunate & crime filled neighborhood called Dickens. Dickens is populated majorly by the African Americans, & most of them are economically backward & socially awkward.

The narrator & the protagonist of the book, referred mostly in the book by his last name, through an interesting turns of events, finds himself defending his case in the Supreme Court. What may had been an isolated case of insane activism in the parts of city which was otherwise popular for police shootouts & gang wars, the protagonist manage to shake the foundation of American society by re-initiating slavery & segregating students in schools on the basis of race.

While the author may have considered many things while writing it, political correctness was no where in his consideration. Since most of the characters in the book were African American ( or niggers, as it was fondly referred in this book), there were many references or name calling which will make you feel guilty while laughing at them. The narrators’ father was the controversial socialist of the neighborhood was referred as “nigger whisperer” because of his ability to talk out the “niggers” who have lost their mind in a violent rage. There is one of the most hilarious racial equalizer in the city in the name of America’s first “black Chinese Restaurant”. And then there is the last one of the “Little Rascals” comparing “the blacks’ soul with the Brahmins of Vedic society.

The last social satire to win the Bookers was “The White Tiger” by Arvind Adiga in 2008 & it still divides the audience stating that “it was not the Bookers’ Book” ( I don’t know what it means though). The Sellout should not be relegated  as only a “satire”  because it touches the important issues. Though in the book there are few things that could have been better. Outside the main characters, all the other characters were underdeveloped & so many subtexts which were opened during the narration were then overlooked or not closed.

I rated “The Sellout” 3/5 stars in goodreads, definitely missing on an extra star because of over dependence of humor in most of the times.

Next On #ManBookers2016:  Book Review of “His Bloody Project”.

12 thoughts on “Book Review: The Sellout #ManBookers2016

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