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I Am Not Sidney Poitier: A Novel af Percival…

I Am Not Sidney Poitier: A Novel (udgave 2009)

af Percival Everett

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
3102579,941 (4.09)35
The novel follows the life of a young man named Not Sidney Poitier, after he was orphaned at age eleven and inherited a staggering number of shares in the Turner Broadcasting Corporation.
Titel:I Am Not Sidney Poitier: A Novel
Forfattere:Percival Everett
Info:Graywolf Press (2009), Edition: Original, Paperback, 272 pages
Samlinger:Read, Dit bibliotek
Nøgleord:fiction, novel

Work Information

I Am Not Sidney Poitier af Percival Everett


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Engelsk (24)  Fransk (1)  Alle sprog (25)
Viser 1-5 af 25 (næste | vis alle)
Not Sidney’s mother was a strange, intense woman whom he believed to be crazy. His mother certainly had strange views as well as naming practices, but what she had even more of was an uncanny skill at investing. When Not Sidney becomes an orphan at the age of 11, he is almost uncountably and unaccountably wealthy. Fortunately, perhaps, media magnate Ted Turner had taken a shine to Not Sidney’s mother and so Not Sidney Poitier came to live on his estate in Atlanta. It’s like a strange Dickensian fairy tale. Except it gets far stranger since Not Sidney grows up to look surprisingly like Sidney Poitier. And that has ramifications that can’t quite be calculated.

Percival Everett’s crazy idea for this novel is almost crazy enough to have been originated by Professor Percival Everett, the character, who teaches a course on the Philosophy of Nonsense. That probably says as much as you need to know about what you might encounter here. Except to say that along with the whimsical oddness, there is plenty of action as well. Indeed, a great deal of it is surprisingly similar to the action of a number of Sidney Poitier’s famous films. Just hold on to your hat and go along for the ride.

Easy to recommend. ( )
  RandyMetcalfe | Sep 14, 2023 |
I must remember in future not to read the introductions to a book by another author. It can ruin the fun and puzzlement when you are told everything you need to know before you read the book. It can also highlight things that you might not have noticed and therefore, to some extent, reduced other things. I had no idea that Sidney Poitier films were used in this book but given a twist and would have enjoyed it just as much without this knowledge. Unfortuntely, once I knew that films were involved I had to look them up with a summary so that I could relate what I was reading to the film. Intertexuality is alway an issue with Everett.

Not Sidney is named by his crazy mother who dies when he is 11. Sidney goes to live with Ted Turner and his wife Jane Fonda and their daughter Wanda Fonda. The chapters thereafter describe a series of incidents and events which Poitier finds himself involved in, from escaping from an overturned jail van attached to a white racist, to visiting his girlfriend's family and finding out that he is too black for them and then when they find out he has money it doesn't matter, to finally finding himself dead - or someone who looks like him at the morgue. His final act is to become Sidney Poitier and receive an award surrounded by women.

This is a parody, a humorous text that sets out to imitate but subverts film by twisting the stories in an exaggerated way. In fact, I think there may be parodies within parodies when Everett introduces not himself but a character named Percival Everett as a Professor of Nonsense at a university that Not Sidney buys his way into. We even get the character Everett commenting on the feedback from his novel Erasure. I haven't read this one but I have read Dr No and like that, there is a lot of play on the negative - is he Not Sidney or is he not Sidney? Without Sidney, Not Sidney wouldn't exist. He would be an absence that negates everything he is supposed to represent. Fiction and reality blur in this book.

I think this book is about searching for identity through a quest. Each chapter finds Not Sidney in another adventure where he tries on different identities. Is he a rich man who donates to good causes, does he belong in jail, is he boyfriend material? Is he a student? In the end, he is none of these although his life has been eventful. Quests usually have wise elders who help guide the protaganist through and over the obstacles and in this case it is Ted Turner and Professor Everett although both speak nonsense in their own way. This is considerable progress from childhood where he never had a friend and was always being beaten up.

In all of the events and as a character the focus is on what we do or don't expect from a character who is Black. This is a book that tells us that Black people do not have to write literature that is seen as 'Black'. They can just write literature which anyone can enjoy, and they do not have to stick to the character tropes of Black men. They can be sportsmen, prisoners, very wealthy, donate to good causes or they can be anything else that anyone else can be. Not Sidney tries on all of these tropes and finds that they are Not him. ( )
  allthegoodbooks | Aug 27, 2023 |
Rating: 5.779

The story opens with "...I am the ill-starred fruit of a hysterical pregnancy, and surprisingly odd though I might be, I am not hysterical myself. I'm rather calm in fact; some might say waveless. I am tall and dark and look for the world like Mr. Sidney Poitier, something my poor disturbed and now deceased mother could not have known when I was born..." As I read this I reflected on a comic version of a Twilight Zone episode since what follows is about as far as you can get from reality.

Living in his mother's womb for 24 months, birthed by a drunken doctor, one can only imagine what lies ahead. Not long after his birth his mother, Porsche Poitier, invests her savings in the Turner Broadcasting System and becomes filthy rich. Concerned he might be confused with the actor, she names her child 'Not Sidney', the first mistake of many.

"What's your name?" a kid would ask. "Not Sidney" he would say. "Okay, then what is it?"

Having recently read "The Echo Chamber" by John Boyne, a hilarious poke at today's society, Percival Everett ups the game with this outrageous, insane yet extremely funny story. It takes an unusual, creative mind to come up with a plot like this, no less deliver it in ways unfathomable. To say Everett is a genius might be a bit strong, but his ability to shift genre while manufacturing remarkable characters and plot is a talent few authors possess.

Being a major shareholders in his company, Ted Turner learns of Porsche Poitier's death and knowing her son would inherit the wealth, moves him to one of his homes in Atlanta where he's cared for and educated. Going to school with a name such as his presented problems which resulted in regular beatings as they laughed. As Not Sidney matured, he found himself bored with high school and eventually dropped out. An ill advised move, Ted suggests he go to college but being a dropout posed problems. Advised money has advantages in situations like this, the theme plays out through the story. As frustration in Atlanta grows, Not Sidney decides its time to leave and head for the West coast.

The journey that follows is far from predictable, which makes the story all the more enjoyable. Similar to his others, the author inserts himself as a character using both his name and position as a professor. This becomes an opportunity to poke fun at higher education since Professor Everett teaches the philosophy of nonsense. Not Sidney bonds with Professor Everett who becomes friend, mentor and incompetent adviser. Reflecting on the dialog between them, its reminiscent of a Marx Brothers movie, Everett playing the part of Groucho.

When he agrees to a Thanksgiving with his light skinned girlfriend Maggie, he's shocked that her parents are racist. Stymied, Not Sidney decides to drive to Los Angeles and during the drive breaks down in Alabama. Here Everett takes on the racist topic using among other things, tongue-in-cheek humor. As with the rest of the characters in the story, Not Sidney encounters South Dakota nuns, a confused sheriff, and all sorts of other nut balls causing laugh out loud humor in the process.

In the realm of comedy, rating this book at 5, 6 or 100 stars fails to do it justice. It's by far the funniest, most creative book I've read and a tribute to Percival's talent. A breath of fresh air, a story like this is rare and well worth the time reading. Since the book isn't due back at the library, I plan to read it again..and again..and again. Laughter is Joy, and Joy is what reading is about. Do yourselves a favor and add it! ( )
  Jonathan5 | Feb 20, 2023 |
Clever and entertaining, but I feel like I would have gotten more out of it if I’d seen more Sidney Poitier movies. ( )
  invisiblecityzen | Mar 13, 2022 |
Clever and entertaining, but I feel like I would have gotten more out of it if I’d seen more Sidney Poitier movies. ( )
  invisiblecityzen | Mar 13, 2022 |
Viser 1-5 af 25 (næste | vis alle)
Everett’s new novel, I Am Not Sidney Poitier, is a bookend, of sorts, to Erasure. A coming-of-age story – narrated by a character named Not Sidney Poitier, who nevertheless grows up to look and sound just like the film star – it, too, is a book about entrapment and negation. Not Sidney is the product of a symbolically long pregnancy. His father may or may not have been Sidney Poitier. His mother is a bit touched, but savvy enough to have invested, early on, in Ted Turner’s media concern. When Not Sidney is seven, Turner himself pays the family a visit. Soon afterwards, the mother dies – ‘an illness came over her,’ the son is told – and the mogul takes Not Sidney away to live with him in Atlanta. ‘To Turner’s credit even he was not comfortable with the scenario of the rich do-gooding white man taking in the poor little black child,’ Not Sidney explains. ‘Television was polluted with that model, and it didn’t take a genius to understand that something was wrong with it. My situation was somewhat different as I was in fact extremely wealthy.’
tilføjet af kidzdoc | RedigerLondon Review of Books, Alex Abramovich (pay site) (Nov 19, 2009)
In his latest marvel of a novel, I Am Not Sidney Poitier, Everett has again created a protagonist who lives a kind of double life: on the one hand, he is “Not Sidney Poitier,” a kid with a weird name and buckets of money trying, with some measure of success, not to avoid taking the lead role in his own life; on the other hand, he is indeed Sidney Poitier, the glittering (if dated) embodiment of what, according to the invidious grotesqueries of cultural assumption and inertia, blackness can and should be.

Although it is frequently, gut-grabbingly hilarious, I Am Not Sidney Poitier, like Erasure, is more serious meditation on the exigencies of the self than comic send-up of an America gone wildly off the rails.
tilføjet af kidzdoc | RedigerThe Believer, Laird Hunt (Sep 1, 2009)
Is any American writer as undervalued as Everett? Does anyone in America write funnier books? Such questions come to mind with Everett's 17th novel and latest tour de force of purposeful nonsense, "I Am Not Sidney Poitier."

As always, Everett relies upon capriciousness to ward off reductive interpretations. And as always, his capricious style accords with a serious purpose - in this case a provocative exploration of the unstable nature of African American identity. The name "Not Sidney" suggests an identity with origins in a negative truth - he is viewed not for who he is, but against who he is not. As indeed was the original: Sidney Poitier, the movie star himself - shimmering on the silver screen, his Bahamian accent erased - was from the start a reflection of African American pride and compromise, and of the wider culture's hopes and fears.

Constantly shifting modes, from comic realism to tall tale, from recounted dreams to refashioned movie plots, Everett's hall of mirrors narrative presents African American identity itself as rooted in contradiction.
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The novel follows the life of a young man named Not Sidney Poitier, after he was orphaned at age eleven and inherited a staggering number of shares in the Turner Broadcasting Corporation.

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