I Am Not Sidney Poitier
A NovelPaperback - 2009
I Am Not Sidney Poitier is an irresistible comic novel from the master storyteller Percival Everett, and an irreverent take on race, class, and identity in America
I was, in life, to be a gambler, a risk-taker, a swashbuckler, a knight. I accepted, then and there, my place in the world. I was a fighter of windmills. I was a chaser of whales. I was Not Sidney Poitier.
Not Sidney Poitier is an amiable young man in an absurd country. The sudden death of his mother orphans him at age eleven, leaving him with an unfortunate name, an uncanny resemblance to the famous actor, and, perhaps more fortunate, a staggering number of shares in the Turner Broadcasting Corporation.
Percival Everett's hilarious new novel follows Not Sidney's tumultuous life, as the social hierarchy scrambles to balance his skin color with his fabulous wealth. Maturing under the less-than watchful eye of his adopted foster father, Ted Turner, Not gets arrested in rural Georgia for driving while black, sparks a dinnertable explosion at the home of his manipulative girlfriend, and sleuths a murder case in Smut Eye, Alabama, all while navigating the recurrent communication problem: "What's your name?" a kid would ask. "Not Sidney," I would say. "Okay, then what is it?"
From the critics
SummaryAdd a Summary
After a bad experience in a High School in Atlanta, Not Sidney drops-out and decides to drive to his place of birth - Los Angeles. Not's journey involves several jails, a fraternity, very racist Georgians, nuns, African-Americans against darker African-Americans, a crazy professor and a faithful friend.
QuotesAdd a Quote
Robert shook my hand and seemed friendly enough as he gave me the once-over. I suppose I was doing the same. He paused at my name. "Then what is your name?" he asked. "My name is Not Sidney," I said. "Not is a part of Not Sidney's name," Maggie said. "Knot, with a k?" he asked. "Not with a k," I said. "That's what I said," he said. "N-O-T," Maggie said. "Sidney?" "Not my name is not Sidney. My name is Not Sidney. Call me Not Sidney." Though he was the one being dense, I was the one in the middle, feeling stupid, trying to explain the unexplainable. And for no good reason.
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