The first American author to win The Man Booker Prize, Paul Beatty has written an amusing, ironic, sarcastic, intelligent novel that will not be to everyone’s liking. The character known as the Sellout is the narrator. He is a Black man who was raised by his father who made the young boy a guinea pig for his sociological studies. He was born and raised in Dickens, California, a rural farming community outside of Los Angeles. Dickens, like the narrator, has lost its identity; it has been erased off the maps, and one of the Sellout’s missions is to put it back. With the help of his “slave, ” Hominy Jenkins, a former child actor who had minor roles in “The Little Rascals,” he tries to segregate his hometown, most notably the school and buses, in an effort to put Dickens back on the map.
If the plot seems a bit confusing-that’s because it is. For me, The Sellout, is a book to be appreciated, but not necessarily enjoyed. Be warned: Beatty takes pot shots at almost everyone-Blacks, Whites, Hispanics, Jews-just to name just a few.