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Angry Black White Boy: A Novel Paperback – March 8, 2005
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"Intersection for the Arts' new play "Angry Black White Boy," based on local author Adam Mansbach's celebrated 2005 novel, blasts through what could have been a tired debate on racial identity politics. With incredible energy and seamless staging, the show has the effect of being lost in a good book, not sitting in a theater. Adapted by and starring Dan Wolf as Macon Detornay, the angry white boy in question, the show feature members of the hip-hop collective Felonious - Myers Clark, Keith Pinto (doubling as choreographer) and Tommy Shepherd (also the composer) in alternating roles. The spare set proves to be big enough for elements of dance to intertwine with dialogue. Amazingly, the sound is controlled by the performers on stage, either through live beat-box effects or recordings. The play ends amid the confusion of who, exactly, should be apologizing to whom and for what. The issues are anything but black or white".
—San Francisco Chronicle
"For all of its form crunching and boundary pushing, "Angry Black White Boy" rises or falls on the strength of its storytelling. Dan Wolf’s stage adaptation of Adam Mansbach's novel tells a fierce, funny, fascinating story that cuts to the core of what we talk about when we talk about race in this country. There’s satire and sincerity in ample supply, and this dynamic Campo Santo/Intersection for the Arts production, directed with sharp focus and experimental glee by Sean San Jose, is compelling as it is entertaining... fluid sound and movement that make the story feel like dance, poetry and music without ever detracting from the forward motion of the plot and the characters’ trajectory. The storytelling along the way crackles with energy that comes from the fusion of mostly live music – a blend of hip-hop, rap, beatbox, doo-wop, gorgeous harmonies -- and incisive movement. The excellent quartet of actors fuses sound, movement and storytelling to create a uniquely theatrical experience."
—San Francisco Examiner
"Vigorous and inviting... very entertaining. Director Sean San Jose and cast propel the action through a fluid, combustible mixture of music and movement, with sharp choreography. The cohesive, versatile ensemble and Wolf's sympathetic approach translates into an engaging theatrical hybrid, whose punctuations and rhythms carry their own share of emotional content and cultural meaning."
—San Francisco Bay Guardian
"Adapted from Adam Mansbach’s hip-lit novel of the same title, the stage version doesn’t dilute the potent conversation about race, racism, and identity. In fact, I’d venture to say witnessing the Mansbach’s deeply complicated subject matter as live dialog is possibly more powerful. Featuring members of the hip-hop collective Felonious (Myers Clark, Keith Pinto and Tommy Shepherd), it’s also very lyrical in its execution, featuring and ballet-influenced choreography and stage blocking from Keith Pinto. This is a thoughtfully complicated production. The issues are muddy, the resolutions are unclear, and the show on the whole has a great sense of humor.Wolf’s play is an amazing and consistently challenging journey through one’s psyche... an extremely nuanced play."
“Angry Black White Boy is bananas! Actually, it’s a banana split with razor blades in it. Adam Mansbach is the white Richard Wright, and Angry Black White Boy is our generation’s Native Son.”
—William Upski Wimsatt, author of No More Prisons
“Startling, subversive, and raucous, Angry Black White Boy is a novel about how we became who we are, and why that’s not good enough.”
—Daniel Alarcón, author of War by Candlelight
“With this brutal, hilarious, and tragic novel, Adam Mansbach proves once again he is one of the most ambitious, insightful, and daring writers of our generation.”
—Jeff Chang, author of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation
“Angry Black White Boy is full of hilariously twisted racial politics. Adam Mansbach is like a wigger Ishmael Reed running wild through the world of hip hop.”
—Touré, author of Soul City
“An insanely smart novel that pulls no punches . . . wild, comic, and dark.”
—Percival Everett, author of Erasure
From the Inside Flap
Macon Detornay is a suburban white boy possessed and politicized by black culture, and filled with rage toward white America. After moving to New York City for college, Macon begins robbing white passengers in his taxicab, setting off a manhunt for the black man presumed to be committing the crimes. When his true identity is revealed, Macon finds himself to be a celebrity and makes use of the spotlight to hold forth on the evils and invisibility of whiteness. Soon he launches the Race Traitor Project, a stress-addled collective that attracts guilty liberals, wannabe gangstas, and bandwagon riders from all over the country to participate in a Day of Apology--a day set aside for white people to make amends for four hundred years of oppression. The Day of Apology pushes New York City over the edge into an epic riot, forcing Macon to confront the depth of his own commitment to the struggle.
Peopled with all manner of race pimps and players, "Angry Black White Boy is a stunning breakout book from a critically acclaimed young writer and should be required reading for anyone who wants to get under the skin of the complexities of identity in America.
Top Customer Reviews
Macon is a man on a mission to be known as "the downest white boy." For years, he has paid his dues to Black culture and Black folks, earning respect in most circles with his lay-it-on-the-line speeches, innovative poetry, and his hatred for "the man." Nevertheless, Macon isn't content to just be down. He smells a revolution brewing, and he is at its forefront - accidentally on purpose.
Mansbach's story enraptured me with its humor, lilt, and permutation of racial biases, issues, and scope. By creating a character who was totally different from, and almost antithetic to, any other I had ever read about, Mansbach won me over and held me captive in a story I had yet to hear. The writing was unpredictable and almost improvisational, and it fit the plot of this story without overshadowing the central themes and characters. ANGRY BLACK WHITE BOY gleams with brilliance, and I will never forget it. (RAW Rating: 4.5)
Reviewed by CandaceK
of The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
It was a great concept, and Mansbach deserves praise for creating believable and three-dimensional characters. But as soon as the story moves beyond New York City, grotesque stereotypes emerge.
Macon Detourney was a great character. His imagination is wild, and he tends to interpret the goings-on around him through the lens of TV and popular culture. Unfortunately, the same can be said of Mansbach's relationship to the America outside of New York City. He has seen imagery on TV, but doesn't have the same sense for real and imaginary.
The hip hop writing is great.
The novel's staging of a national Day of Apology by whites seems at first like something this very white-aware author would approve of, but then he goes on to show why such a day wouldn't actually work: because most whites are so clueless about what their race has to apologize for. There still has to be a whole ton of education going on before such an apology is even worth voicing, let alone accepting. The Times ran a condescending review when this novel came out, accusing the author of using lazy, cliched slang. What a bad reader! I think The Times just didn't want to receive and repeat the author's message, or else just couldn't hear it.
Overall, great novel! Though I have to agree with reviewers below that the author seemed a little bewildered about how to end it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book from beginning to end. I gotta say, this Macon guy is one smart individual. Macon Detornay for President!!!!Published on December 29, 2012 by Brendonf_86
My rule is if I'm reading a book in my free time and I have to force myself to continue, I stop. I got maybe 70 pages into this book before quitting. The author just lacks skill. Read morePublished on July 3, 2012 by Arien Young
Angry Black White Boy is hilarious, brilliant, inventive and insightful. This is the American Race Novel, remixed for the hip hop generation, and refocused toward the people who... Read morePublished on August 19, 2008 by Sarah Hamill
I read Angry Black White Boy for a graduate-level whiteness studies class and fell in love! This book not only tackles the problems caused by whiteness, but is truly an engaging... Read morePublished on November 30, 2007 by notyouraveragedame
Nah, kinda hard when few are fightin. This book will make you look at the world a little differently as it reveals to you the constant ignorance surrounding us. Read morePublished on August 28, 2006 by M. Johnson
I'm a teacher working in a predominantly urban environment, and in Macon I see so many of the kids in my school. Read morePublished on March 20, 2006 by M. Ginsburg
This novel is incredible. The range and complexity of Angry Black White Boy emotionally, socially, politically and stylistically is damn near unmatched, and it's funny as hell. Read morePublished on March 17, 2006 by Kody Smith
Angry Black White Boy is a book that could only have been written by an author who grew up with hip hop, who understands it inside and out, and who has thought deeply and... Read morePublished on October 23, 2005 by Grad Student X