It’s really intense! But I think worthwhile. The author said in interviews that he wrote the book trying to see if he could make himself flinch at his own writing, so very intentionally provocative in a way that I think is productive? Apart from that though the style is absolutely gripping, swinging from hilarity to horror within a single page.
I read a couple of reviews/interviews today, and it kinda helped me clarify why I feel so conflicted reading it as a white person. It hinges on a specific (but kind of inconsequential) event in the book, so I’ll put it behind a spoiler.
There’s a scene that takes place at a comedy club that usually has an all-black line-up/audience. A white couple walks in and is laughing along, and eventually the MC turns to them and asks them why they came. They keep laughing about it until eventually it grows into an awkward confrontation with the MC saying “This is our thing, you don’t get it, get the fuck out of here”. One reviewer pointed out that’s how it feels as a white reader of the text; whenever I’m laughing at the jokes or agreeing with political statements being made, I sometimes feel like I shouldn’t be. It feels almost exploitative? The scene ends with the narrator kind of subverting the point, but it really sticks.
So, my discomfort feels intentional and has me reflecting a lot. I don’t think I’ll ever forget this book. In that sense, I think it’s worth reading for anyone but it’s hard for me to fully recommend it.