Saturday, November 15, 2008

Book Review.. "The White Boy Shuffle"

Ok so its been quite a minute between my first book review and this second one. I've read quite a few books since just haven't managed to sit and write reviews for them. I will try to pump them out with more regularity (yea I know I've said that before.. all I can say is Ima try!)
This is my first book by the critically acclaimed Paul Beatty and I chose it mainly because of the provocative title. The story details the life of nerd turned poet/basketball star Gunnar Kaufman, who begins his life growing up in the suburban streets of Santa Monica only to be uprooted and moved to Central LA because his mom felt he and his 2 sisters lacked racial identity. Gunnar proceeds to struggle with his racial identity but it's his individuality that allows him to succeed despite this world's never-ending stereotypes and labels.
Without getting into a cliffnotes type review, Beatty does an excellent job at portraying black culture in America and drills it consistently throughout the novel. The purpose or intent I think isn't to glorify it or for justification, but rather to paint it for what it really is, a depleted culture. The result is an honest and accurate depiction of ghetto life. Simply put, the social commentary and Beatty's clever use of vocabulary alone make this book a definite must read.

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