Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour - A Book Review

I love reading debut novels. Every once in a while I discover an author who not only writes entertaining books, but also one whose work pauses me to think and reflect. This is my reaction to Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour.

Plot Summary

Darren is a twenty-two year old Starbuck’s barista living in New York with his mother. Although he was class victorian, he hasn’t lived up to his potential or even attended college. One day while at work he takes a chance with a customer and is invited to interview for a sales position at a hot tech startup called Sumwun.

Upon receiving the position, he starts training in a week-long mental and emotional bootcamp aimed at leading him to sales success. Now nicknamed Buck from his previous work, Darren feels the wrath of racism during this make or break week, but he digs deep and completes this initial training. Not only is Darren successful, but he begins to climb the corporate ladder with the company quite quickly. The only problem is, as Darren invests more and more of his time working, he becomes unrecognizable to his Mom and friends. Indeed, his values had changed so much that he misses the mark completely when a succession of tragedies unfold.

Book Review

I really appreciated Black Buck and was entertained by the style it was written in. The book reads as part memoir and part how to sell anything manual. Labelled as a satire, the book only shows glimpses of this including the fact that every white person notes that he resembles a different famous black man. The book is also an emotional read, as the reader reflects upon all that Darren encounters over a very short time. What I found to be hopeful for Darren is that although he had transitioned away from his values, he was somewhat on the return to these when the story concludes. The character development for Darren was excellent and I couldn’t help but cheer him on despite some of the decisions he made.

Audiobook Review

I listened to the audiobook version of the book which was narrated by Zeno Robinson who was perfectly cast as the voice of Darren. His voice was full of animation and expression in just the right places and he had me hooked to the story right from the very beginning. Having listened to hundreds of audiobooks, this performance was a standout for me. I definitely recommend the audiobook version of this book to those who appreciate this format.

What I Liked About Black Buck
  • Great character development
  • It promotes pause and reflection in the reader
  • It has relevant topics of race and racism.
What I Would Have Liked to be Different
  • The story was a little unbelievable in the sense that so much happened over a short space of time.

I Recommend This Book To:

Anyone looking for a book to give you a better sense of awareness as to the inequality and injustice between races.


Thanks to and Blackstone Publishing for the ALC of this book in exchange for the honest review provided here.

My rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️/5.

Add Black Buck to your Goodreads Shelf

Similar Books I've Reviewed:

My Review of The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett

My Review of Big Lies in A Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

Thanks for reading and supporting my blog. I hope I've inspired you to read something new!


  1. This sounds like a really important book to read! thanks for sharing

    Katie x

  2. This sounds like such an intriguing book! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Ooh I really like the sound of this! It seems different to things I've read before and the premise has really caught my attention. Great review!

  4. Sounds like an interesting book, Jodie. Not something I'd pick up and read myself TBH but I have some friends who might like it so I'll let them know :)

  5. I love how you write your reviews, always enough detail but to the point! I think that this book might be a little heavy of a read for me, given that I'm used to mindless chick-lits but maybe the audio book is for me!

  6. This seems like a really good book to read, I think the cover is pretty nice also.

    Anita x niannilifestyleblog

  7. I love the fact that you said that the book reads as half memoir and half how-to-sell-anything manuaL. That sounds really interesting! Great review x

  8. Seem awesome book. I haven't checked it yet but its good that it has audio version. Thank you for sharing!

  9. Racism at a tech startup wouldn't surprise me, but is he nicknamed Buck because he was poor and/or only working for a buck in a poor man's job? Double whammy of intolerance there if so

  10. Sounds like a great book! I too do not really fancy plotlines that happen too fast. I get confused and have to re-read key points to make sure I'm understanding correctly. Since it is a startup, I understand how quick it is to climb the ladder! I've been in this position too. Thanks for sharing, Jodie x

  11. This book shares an important reminder; how we become successful depends on our definition of success. It is too easy to lose ourselves in what we believe is greatness at the unexpected cost of our loved ones.

    I love how the book draws upon the title and current tragedies to reinforce the story and learning being unfolded.
    Thank you for sharing this!

  12. What a cool review, something I wouldn't usually read! I like the idea of alligning your idea of success - it really does mean something different to everyone!


  13. This sounds like a brilliant read, especially as a debut. Great topic too, probably not something I would have picked up alone but interesting x


  14. Really like how you wrote your review, the book sounds really interesting 😊!

  15. Black Buck sounds like an interesting read. The setting really draws with real life situations. Some company cultures do not do anything against racism and such. So interesting how work can change people - I know it changed me too. Glad you enjoyed the read!

    Nancy ✨