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Books Similar to Animal Farm

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The Sellout by Paul Beatty

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Synopsis of The Sellout by Paul Beatty


The Sellout is about this guy who grew up in Dickens, this run-down part of LA that's so bad they literally took it off the map. His dad was this sociologist who did all these messed-up experiments on him as a kid, and he always thought his dad was writing a book about it that would make them rich. But then his dad gets killed by the cops, and it turns out there was never any book. 


Our main guy is pissed, and he decides to do something crazy to get Dickens back on the map. He teams up with Hominy Jenkins, the last surviving Little Rascal (yes, really!), and they come up with this insane plan to bring back slavery and segregation. And it actually works, in a way. They end up in the Supreme Court, tho. 


A Brief Review of The Sellout by Paul Beatty


I still can't believe Paul Beatty got away with writing this book. It's a full-on racial satire, like nothing I've ever read before. And not only did he get away with it, he won major awards for it! 


The book starts off in the Supreme Court, where our narrator is trying to defend himself against the charge of bringing back slavery and segregation to his hometown. Beatty throws in all these old stereotypes about African Americans, and it reminded me of Ishmael Reed's books, but also, strangely enough, of Julian Barnes's "England, England," which is also about trying to cram a whole culture into a small space. 


The plot is seriously over-the-top in some places, but the shock value keeps you hooked. That being said, after the first part of the book, the humor starts to wear off a bit. I found myself wishing there was more focus on the narrator's personal journey, like a coming-of-age story. There are hints of that, but it never really goes all the way. 


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