Friday, November 12, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: "I Am Not Sidney Poitier" by Percival Everett

BOOK REVIEW: "I Am Not Sidney Poitier: A Novel" by Percival Everett (2009)

The story is about a character named Not Sidney Poitier. The word play is there and Everett takes advantage of it.

This book has a lot of funny moments. Actually, the first 20 pages of this book are pure comedy. Everett eventually goes over the top with his ridiculousness. I'm not mad about it, but funny is funny until ... well, until it's not funny.

Interestingly enough, some people's real life names are a major part of the book, though the novel is obviously fiction. For example, there's a Ted Turner in the book (Not Sidney's guardian); that character seemed true to life. I also like that the author is an outrageous character in the book too. Meaning there's a character in the book named Percival Everett and he's a bit of a loose cannon.

I was more than a little bit annoyed at the number of times the main character receives a blow job. And when I say the number of times, I'm saying it was more than two and I lost count. None of those instances seem to have any humor. Or maybe it's the kind of humor that's not my kind of humor. Whatever, the case, Everett lost me there. I had an attitude and almost didn't finish the damn book.

So back to the funny stuff ... many of the scenes in Atlanta will have you in stitches. There are several different conversations with Not Sidney's accountant, his guardian and his professor; those are bonfide funny. Oh, and the towns people are a riot too.

And for some reason, Everett decides to poke fun at Black Entertainment Television (BET) and he just make a mockery of them. Well, the truth is they've made a mockery of themselves for years, Everett's just piling on.

Overall, I'm glad that I read the book and finished it. It's a different style of writing. It's as if the book is a string of short stories; though there's some connection (almost like Langston Hughes' Simple character). I know that I kept reading because I wanted to know where the book was going? How would it end? It ended up as more of a decrescendo ending, but not too disappointing.

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