Tuesday, August 23, 2016

It is easier to be than to become

I picked up Blackass as something to read on our vacation, though it is too bad I had it as an ebook instead of some other form because it means the cover was hidden from fellow cruisers and I'm pretty sure it would have started up some interesting conversations. I was looking for something that would be funny and that would help my reading resolutions since I could be doing better there. And I'd heard good things about it so that's always good. Plus the book gave Tom an excuse to quote Happy Endings at me.
Furo Wariboko awoke this morning to find that dreams can lose their way and turn up on the wrong side of sleep.
The story is a spin on The Metamorphosis except instead of waking up as an insect, the main character Furo wakes up as a white man. Except his ass, which turns out is still black. He has a job interview scheduled in Lagos and instead of stopping to consider what this super strange transformation means or how it could happen, he is super concerned with making it to his interview. So he sneaks out of the house and begins is journey into the city.

He gets strange looks on the street, a white man being uncommon, especially one with a Nigerian name and accent. But his whiteness allows him access into a world that he otherwise would be locked out of. Though that doesn't mean everything is going perfectly for him.
No one asks to be born, to be black or white or any colour in between, and yet the identity a person is born into becomes the hardest to explain in the world.
In general I liked the story, especially the parts about life in Lagos, although the story doesn't really go anywhere. Though there are some some odd detours. There's a subplot with this person Furo meets immediately after his change that keeps popping back up to narrate chapters. The become obsessed with Furo's story (which sort of makes sense cos that story is nuts) but doesn't really have much connection with Furo. They do track down his family, who are understandably worried about their missing son.

Gif rating:
Word to the wise, if you want to Google this book, make sure to include the word "novel" or something similar with it. Or else your results will not be book related. Which yeah, I get that should be obvious but sometimes you're just looking up a ton of book covers and don't think of that.

Title quote from page 261

Barrett, A. Igoni. Blackass. Graywolf Press, 2016. Kindle