Date Completed: (10/24/2015)
White Boy Shuffle is truly an amazing read. I highly recommend giving this book a try if you’ve never experienced Beatty’s way with words before. As a white person, this book made me uncomfortable at times, but mostly I was just thinking how a lot of the really heavy statements were ideas that my friends of color had expressed to me before, summed up rather eloquently.
I am not so much a fan of poetry, but this novel incorporated poetry in a way that made sense as it led me through the journey of the young Gunnar Kaufman. Each twist and turn in the story seems so improbable yet with a hint of reality. Kaufman’s experience at BU went like this, “I felt like I’d been outed and exposed by my worst enemies, white kids who were embarrassingly like myself but with whom somehow I had nothing in common. To prove it I walked through the center of campus and slowly began to undress. Near the School of Engineering I released my sweater to the Boston winds….”This style of story felt comfortable to read kept me entertained throughout.
Semi-autobiographical, and a first novel, this book is masterful. Paul Beatty had published several books of poetry prior to this, his debut novel. He holds an MFA in creative writing from Brooklyn College, as well as several other achievements.