Thursday, January 12, 2012
Playground by 50 Cent with Laura Moser
Butterball, a sometime-bully, sometime-victim of bullying, offers a protagonist some readers will be able to readily identify with-- he’s young, he’s angry, and he feels like he’s been given a rotten deal. The story opens with Butterball facing a therapist after being threatened with an expulsion for knocking a kid in the face with a sock full of batteries. Butterball is clearly angry that his parents split up and he had to move out to Long Island with his mother, but he also appreciates the benefits of his situation. I expect that younger teen readers will be quickly engaged in this coming-of-age story which invites a deeper look at the choices Butterball made and the path that led him to become a bully, as well as passage through the denial Butterball initially experiences in regard to his mother’s new life and his father’s character.
Educators may be interested to know the book includes phrases like “you crazy b****.” Interestingly, Penguin describes the book as appropriate for 12 year olds and up.--Jessica Fenster-Sparber