Black Buck follows the story of Darren Vender, an unambitious twenty-two-year-old, Darren lives in a Bed-Stuy brownstone with his mother. He’s happy with his Mom, his long term girlfriend, Soraya, his best friend Jason, and Mr. Rawlings, the man who’s lived on the first floor of his house since before he was born. Darren is even content with just being a shift manager at Starbucks. But his Mom wants nothing more than for Darren to live up to his potential. So when Rhett Daniels, the CEO of Sumwun, New York’s newest tech startup, invites Darren to join the elite team on the thirty-sixth floor, Darren agrees.
Quickly finding out he’s the only Black person in the company and after enduring a “hell week” of training, Darren gets the new name “Buck”, and turns himself into an impressive salesman who becomes unrecognizable to his friends and family. But after a tragic event back home, Buck feels like he hit rock bottom and he begins to make plans to help young people of color make their way into the sales force and it forever changes the game.
This is Mateo Askaripour’s debut novel and what a talent he is! He definitely takes you on a journey that is wild and crazy. This book deals with a lot, the narrator, Buck, puts it all out on the table for the readers to read and experience: racism, gentrification, white privilege, classism, etc.
The story is told with small “notes” from Buck, who is talking to you from a later time. The little notes really make the novel unique and sometimes even funny. There are many characters and many events that keep the story going and growing. You know it’s all somehow going to blow up, because there are so many ways it could, but how it does is the shock.
This book was not what I expected at all and for that I am glad. I will for sure be keeping Mateo Askaripour on my radar for anything he releases in the future.