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Black Card

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  342 ratings  ·  72 reviews
With dark humor, Chris L. Terry’s Black Card is an uncompromising examination of American identity. In an effort to be “black enough,” a mixed-race punk rock musician indulges his own stereotypical views of African American life by doing what his white bandmates call “black stuff.” After remaining silent during a racist incident, the unnamed narrator has his Black Card rev ...more
Hardcover, 253 pages
Published August 13th 2019 by Catapult
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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 ·  342 ratings  ·  72 reviews

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Aug 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
looking for great books to read during black history month...and the other eleven months? i'm going to float some of my favorites throughout the month, and i hope they will find new readers!

UPDATE: so i went to chris' reading at books are magic and it went great, and afterwards it was all compressed signing-line longtime no see catching-up: howza wife and kid and swapping freelance woes



(view spoiler)

Paris (parisperusing)
It pains me what I have to say about Chris L. Terry's Black Card. This novel could have been so much more effective than it was, but its potential, sadly, was marred by its own exploitation every black stereotype you could imagine. That isn't, however, the bone I have to pick with Black Card — it was the lazy unwillingness to correct or debunk these stereotypes.

In an effort to win back his "Black Card" — the figurative token of black acceptance that’s made real in the book — after being a silent
Traci at The Stacks
Oct 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Sort of corny and sort of good and a fun little read about race. I loved the author’s voice and the main character. It sort of felt like reading Atlanta the TV show. I didn’t get it all, and some didn’t land, and it gets lost in the last 1/3 but over all I enjoyed it.
James Spooner
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Chris Terry beat me to the punch. This book has all the stuff I’d put into a book of writing about my own life.
He writes about mixed race identity and punk rock in a way that only someone who has lived it could.
I recommend this to anyone who has an interest in either.
Nia Forrester
You ever read a book that you're just happy was written? 'Black Card' is one such book for me. I mean, there have been a couple of those this year, but this one in particular felt timely and important. I read about this book long before it was released, and admit I was somewhat disappointed that it was going to be satire. I like writing, thinking, speaking, reading about race and identity, race and politics, race and relationships ... and it feels weighty, but like it deserves that weight. It fe ...more
Uriel Perez
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Chris L. Terry’s hilariously unnerving novel, ‘Black Card,’ grapples with questions of racial identity, pitting one mixed-race, punk-rocking barista against an alarmingly racist circle of friends and strangers, a police investigation that views him as the prime suspect of a violent crime, and the existential threat of having lost his Black Card, the lone tie to his Blackness.

‘Black Card’ is probing, revelatory and deftly toes it’s way through the murky waters of the bi-racial experience. Chris L
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fall-2019, 2019
Black Card is the satirical story of a mixed-race punk rock musician who, determined to win back his coveted Black Card, is suspected of a violent crime in early 2000s Richmond, Virginia, and is confronted with the alienation and everyday aggressions experienced in an absurd world divided by race.
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
I mean...this is just a tragic ass story that had so much promise. The narrator is just tiresome and is trying to be black by playing into damn near every black stereotype. Homie even has a Magical Negro Friend who's straight up the embodiment of a hood ni**a because he thinks that what the gatekeeper of "blackness" looks like and who is the only individual who can give him his Black Card. It's a mess of stereotypes, predictable tropes, and just pointless events; which can sometimes be the birac ...more
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
BLACK CARD takes the teenage search for the self through a sharp and surreal map of punk-southern-rap-rock Virginia, drawn and crossed in racial lines and guided by the heart and wit of Chris Terry’s indelible characters. A kickflip classic.
Aug 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
“it’s easy to lose it when you’re looking for yourself”
Black Card is a satirical novel that reads almost like a memoir. It delicately explores life of a mixed race man living in the old confederate capitol of Richmond Va. Terry has created a work so searing and truthful that it makes you question the very logic which it defies. Facing off against topics on the hot stove of society these days and written with such complex fury that made it so effortless to fly through these pages. I also had
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had high expectations and this book totally exceeded them. I don't often laugh out loud when reading but this book got me a few times. I can't recommend it enough. I've already given away one copy as a gift and it's only been out like a week. ...more
Dec 21, 2020 rated it did not like it
I can pretty much see what he was going for but this book does unfortunately suck
Tony DuShane
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A super fun read right from page one.
Aug 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Strong language.
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music-writing, 2019
There’s a poignant passage near the middle of Chris L. Terry’s new novel, Black Card, in which the unnamed protagonist reflects on cultural memory in his hometown in the South.

“There are only first impressions in Richmond.”

The narrator notes how people in the capital of Virginia refer to stores and restaurants by the names of previous establishments that have long gone out of business. That tendency to hold onto the past stagnates personal growth and makes it hard to reinvent oneself.

“If the
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read the majority of this book in two very long sittings (one at a bar, one at the Manhattan DMV, to give you an idea of how long) and, while I actually think it might be better-suited to short spurts, like a commute, I did really enjoy immersing myself in its world for that long. And while for quite a bit of this book I was thinking more along four stars, by the end I really felt like there was something a little brilliant about the novel, though it was tough to put my finger on exactly what. ...more
Oct 17, 2019 rated it liked it
This is such a petty, petty, petty, little complaint to have about a book and I know that. And while this petty little complaint nagged away at my brain for the entire time that I was reading "Black Card," and most definitely impacted my experience with this novel in a slightly negative way, and while I really wanted to beef about it in an online review for no other reason than to vent my annoyance, I never would have actually done so, because it's such a petty, petty, petty, little complaint, b ...more
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is absolutely fantastic. The story itself is well written and progresses with ease. The actual plot points and thought exercises within the story are where the novel becomes increasingly important to the race conversations happening in America today. I cannot recommend this novel enough to anyone who is aware of social stereotypes and prejudices and interested in being an upstanding member of their community.
Antonio Depietro
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
LOVE this book. What a total surprise. Couldn't put it down. I guess it's about racial identity, but for me it seemed like that time in life when if you're lucky you're figuring out who you are and accepting it. Good insight about the Richmond punk scene which i have no clue about. ...more
Lavon Youins
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I myself am biracial (Black/Korean) who lives in the South, so I know firsthand the struggle concerning confederate monuments, microaggressions committed by friends - and having them allow others to openly racially-antagonize you directly. I also know the struggle of having to atone for turning your back on the maintained struggle of one's race in favor of a better chance of a good day. I also know forgiveness of self.
What Terry has done is not just written a story that is deeply personal to him
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the stock pieces of writing advice for writers is "write what you know". This dude took it to heart. It rings true, just about everything rings so sincere and tactile that it's really ridiculous. From the cringey racism of white people at karaoke night, to the logistics of dirtbag punk band touring. It's a quick read, everything moves the plot forward, and there's enough magical realism/flashbacks/diversions that nothing ever gets slowed down by real life. I've never had a struggle with r ...more
Alexander P.
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the best of 2019. Brilliant prose, spot-on descriptions, and a main character you wish to spend more time than this wonderfully-paced novel gives you. This is definitely a book Terry should be eating off for years to come.
Jul 21, 2019 rated it liked it
This book is about a young gentlemen trying to figure out is he "black" or is he "white." The book started out slow and had a minimally effective plot. Book was a quick read. ...more
Lee Barnes
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A quick, affecting read about a biracial person's experiences of coming to terms with their intersectional identity in Richmond, VA. Black Card challenges racist tropes and cliches through a self-aware satirical lens, while simultaneously providing levity with a touch of magical realism. ...more
james r. hise
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Where do I start?!
This book was riveting. I couldn't put it down. It was powerful, emotional and completely relatable. The characters are so we'll developed I felt like I was reading a story about my friends. I can't wait to see what Chris L. Terry writes next!
Rami Jubran
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I went into this book without knowing much about it except that i liked Chris L. Terry as a person. I did not expect to connect with this book as much as i did, especially not being black. As a person whose ethnicity is just as difficult to guess as the narrator of the book, it put into a words a lot of things i've felt throughout my life.

The book itself is fantastic and quick, its a moment in time and reminded me a lot of "The Hate U Give" as they both deal with difficult situations around race
Pete Hsu
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is my kind of book! Smart, funny and heartbreaking.

The unnamed protagonist is a mixed-race black guy in Virginia who’s trying to navigate his conflicted desire to: (1) continue participating within the levels of racist America while also (2) desperately (re)claim his black identity. It’s a heartfelt and entertaining read that takes a stark turn forcing the narrator to confront what it really means to be a black man in America.
Sarah Langan
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I got an advance copy of Chris Terry's Black Card. It's a propulsive coming of age story, about a mixed race kid who doesn't know who he is, or whether he should listen to the voices in his head. ...more
Erika Kraus
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I won this book in the giveaway! I was entertained and interested throughout the story and I already have someone in mind to pass it along to!
“This card entitles the brotha or sista who bears it to all black privileges, including, but not limited to: Use of the n-word, permission to wear flip-flops and socks, extra large bottles of lotion, use of this card as a stand-in for the BigJoker in a spades game, and, most important, a healthy and vocal skepticism of white folks aka crackers aka honkies. To be renewed in five years, upon evaluation.” (Pg. 7)

Getting back to a physical read and got this one a year ago (thanks Facebook Memories f
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Chris L. Terry is the author of the novel Black Card, about a mixed-race punk bassist with a black imaginary friend. NPR called Black Card, "hilariously searing." Terry's debut novel Zero Fade was on Best of 2013 lists by Slate and Kirkus Reviews, who called it, "Original, hilarious, thought-provoking, and wicked smart...not to be missed."

Terry was born in 1979 to a black father and white mother.

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