The Sellout

ETA:  The Sellout WINS the ROOSTER! Lots of great thoughts on BOTH finalists at today’s finals… Congratulations to The Turner House for 2nd place. I would recommend both books.

Thoughts tsbypb by Paul Beatty, 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 304 pages

Challenge: TOB Shortlist
Genre: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: Hardcover, Library

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Blurb from goodreads:

Born in the “agrarian ghetto” of Dickens–on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles–the narrator of The Sellout resigns himself to the fate of lower-middle-class Californians: “I’d die in the same bedroom I’d grown up in, looking up at the cracks in the stucco ceiling that’ve been there since ’68 quake.” Raised by a single father, a controversial sociologist, he spent his childhood as the subject in racially charged psychological studies. He is led to believe that his father’s pioneering work will result in a memoir that will solve his family’s financial woes, but when his father is killed in a police shoot-out, he realizes there never was a memoir. All that’s left is the bill for a drive-thru funeral.

Fueled by this deceit and the general disrepair of his hometown, the narrator sets out to right another wrong: Dickens has literally been removed from the map to save California from further embarrassment. Enlisting the help of the town’s most famous resident–the last surviving Little Rascal, Hominy Jenkins–he initiates the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school, which lands him in the Supreme Court.

WHAT’s GOOD:  Everything. Some say the plot is thin or ridiculous but I ask “What’s your point?”

What’s NOT so good:  The pace is relentless. Just a warning rather than a criticism. It is a physical sensation to read such pointed sentences one right after the other and be laughing and in shock and all wide-eyed at the crazy – so good.

Beatty is masterful and amazing. I’ve read nothing like it. I want to read it again.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  Read Celeste Ng’s TOB verdict here.

You can then click on all the other contests commentary if you can’t get enough…


RATING:  4 slices of apple pie.

“That omnipresent guilt that’s as black as fast food apple pie and prison basketball game is finally gone, and it feels almost white to be unburdened from the racial shame that makes a bespectacled college freshman dread fried chicken Fridays at the dining hall.”


Why not five slices? Why not five slices… I don’t know why not five slices but I still have to say the Tsar of Love and Techno was my favorite of the tourney. AND that I am hoping The Turner House gets much love, too. I have gained much appreciation for Turner since reading – helped by the commentariat.

Today concludes the 2016 The Morning News book contest called The Rooster. It has been a wonderful one and I am so thrilled and impressed with myself for how many of the books I managed to read!  Such fun. I hope to be more ready for next year but realize how difficult it is when I am not much of a “Published-Current-Year” reader. We will see…




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17 thoughts on “The Sellout

  1. Well, you make this sound quite irresistible. I like crazy and relentless. And, congratulations for reading so many of the books! I have The Turner House, Tsar of Love and Techno, and this one all on my list!

  2. Well — wow! Okay! I was kind of unsure about this book for a while, because the plot seemed kind of willfully whimsical in a way that I don’t tend to care for? But you and the Tournament of Books have sold me!

  3. Pingback: Pie Charts Tables Stats Words, Part 1 2016 – Care's Books and Pie

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