Book Review: Black Buck

BLACK BUCK | Mateo Askaripour
01.05.2021 | HMH
4.5/5 stars


Darren is an unambitious twenty-two-year-old living in a Bed-Stuy brownstone with his mother, whose one wish is for Darren to live up to the potential she sees within him. Darren is content working at Starbucks in the lobby of a Midtown office building and spending downtime with his girlfriend, Soraya. That all changes when Rhett Daniels walks in the doors of Starbucks and Darren takes a chance pitching Rhett on changing his drink order. Rhett instantly sees something in Darren and gives him a sales job at Sumwun, NYC’s hottest tech startup. After enduring “hell week” Darren, the only Black person in the company, reimagines himself as “Buck”, a ruthless salesman unrecognizable to his friends and family. 

BLACK BUCK is the debut novel from Mateo Askaripour and packs an incredible punch! This is the perfect read for anyone who was a fan of the movie Wolf of Wall Street. It’s everything that movie had about the cutthroat business life, but so much more. Askaripour explores not only the sales aspect of Darren’s new job but also racial injustice, gentrification, and the balance of finding your place in the world without losing your past.


From the minute you walk into BLACK BUCK you are swept away into a fast-paced story that moves at a breakneck speed as we watch Darren’s life spiral. There is a lot to unpack in this story and it’s good to pause and reflect while experiencing this book. While the satire is high with this story, the issues explored about racial injustice and microaggressions are very real. Darren joining an elite, white-dominated industry puts race in the forefront and there are a plethora of interactions that make you simply want to punch someone. There are characters who are some of the most pretentious (insert all the expletives here) people you will ever meet.

This book was perfect for me until I hit the very end. I’m not sure I loved how everything was wrapped up, but overall this story is one I will recommend to everyone!

Note: I listened to this one on audio and I cannot recommend the narrator enough! Zeno Robinson does an incredible job bringing Darren to life!

This book is available to buy from: Amazon Book Depository

A huge thank you to and HMH for my gifted copies!

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

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