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Playground Hardcover – November 1, 2011

27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


'A fascinating insight into the mind of a vulnerable teenager. Compelling; a one-sitting read' Alex Scarrow. Alex Scarrow 'rapper Fiddy has written some YA fiction! And what's more, it's a funny, smart and engaging read, perfect for older teens' Bliss. Bliss 'Beautifully written and paced' Books for Keeps. Books for Keeps 'cracking read' Daily Mirror. Daily Mirror 'a raucous read' Flipside. Flipside 'I loved Playground. I think it will appeal to a very broad range of kids, girls and boys, rich and poor, black and white, but crucially including many who don't feel that they are represented in most books' Keren David. Keren David 'I'd recommend to anyone who likes rap and a gritty storyline' Teen Titles. Teen Titles 'incredibly readable' Chicklish. Chicklish --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Curtis Jackson III (aka 50 Cent; is an internationally successful hip-hop star, actor, writer, and entrepreneur. He rose to fame with the release of his albums Get Rich or Die Tryin' and The Massacre. He is the author of the bestselling books From Pieces to Weight and The 50th Law.

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Read the first chapter from Playground [PDF].

Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 900L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Razorbill; First Edition edition (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159514434X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595144348
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,287,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lucy (Reading Date) on November 7, 2011
Format: Audible Audio Edition
Playground is Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson's debut young adult novel about teen bullying. He explores this topical issue by sharing some of his own experiences in this fictionalized story. He hopes to reach out to kids to show how bullies are created and that there is hope to overcome it. As a parent, I'm very interested in this topic and was curious to read a story written from the bully's perspective as a fresh change of pace.

Butterball is a sympathetic character that I think many teens will relate to. After his parent's split he has to start again in a new neighborhood and school where he is the outsider. The only time he does get respect and positive attention from his peers is when he attacks a fellow student. Even his father seems to like the new bullying ways of his son. The dialogue is realistic and edgy with an uncondescending tone that gets the message across. The language is explicit at times but appropriate to the story and since it is not toned down it is more relatable to the intended audience.

There are many issues presented in the book that go hand in hand with the bullying behavior such as divorce, consumerism, diet and more. I thought these issues were handled with sensitivity and not in a preachy way. It's interesting to see the circumstances that lead to Butterball's acting out and it made me more sympathetic to those who exhibit the same behavior. The therapy session storytelling device works well and gives a healing quality to the story.

Dwayne Clark effectively handles the narration and kept the audiobook entertaining throughout. The reading is very lively and the character voices are distinct and believable. At only four hours long, the audiobook is the perfect length for the story and the time flies by.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Evie Seo TOP 500 REVIEWER on December 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover
When I first heard that 50 Cent wrote a book I was utterly baffled. I mean, seriously? 50 Cent? Writing Young Adult books? It was like trying to imagine Snoop Dog singing in opera, the idea was ridiculous. I'm not a fan of 50 Cent, I don't think I ever listened to any of his songs.. I admit, I don't know much about him as a person, either. It's just that.. he never really struck me as the writing type (if you know what I mean). I just couldn't wrap my mind around it. But at the same time, I was insanely curious about this book! Who wouldn't be? The best part? I really enjoyed reading it! Believable, funny, insightful - Playground made a very positive impression on me. Color me surprised!

13-year-old Butterball doesn't have an easy life. After his parents divorced and his mom moved them away from Bronx to Garden City, Butterball finds himself struggling to adapt to the new environment. Back in Bronx he was someone, he had a group of friends and he was respected by others. Here, he's just the fat, black kid. He lives with his mother, but she's too busy working to spend quality time with him. His father doesn't care much about him, either. He's way too busy pursuing meaningless, purely physical "relationships" to ever pay attention to his son. Butterball is all on his own. Then one day he gets in trouble for assaulting a kid with a sock full of batteries, a kid that used to be Butterball's only friend there. After that, he's forced to attend weekly sessions with a psychologist. Butterball's initial attitude of "I-don't-want-to-talk-about-it" and "you-would-never-understand" begins to change over time, as the psychologist's patient and non-judgmental approach slowly wins his trust. As the story progresses, we learn more about the main character and the motives behind his actions.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By OpheliasOwn VINE VOICE on March 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After finishing The Fault in Our Stars, I really needed to read something different. I had bought this book on a whim, at first scoffing at it, then intrigued by it. I was torn between being impressed by Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson writing about his early start as a playground bully and being annoyed by this ghost written story pumped out to make more money. Now that I have read Playground: A Mostly True Story of a Former Bully, I think I am more impressed than annoyed...

Butterball is a big guy. Junior High is rough enough for a kid, let alone a fat kid, so you have to be tough to make it through. When Maurice, Butterball's only real friend at school, starts telling people something truly horrible about Butterball's family, he does the only thing he can. He defends his honor. He bashes Maurice's face in with a sock filled with D batteries. Now Butterball has to go to a social worker twice a week and talk about his feelings- the last thing he wants to do.

Butterball and his mother moved out of the city to Garden City when his parents split up. He still goes to the city occasionally to see his father, but his dad is usually preoccupied by his latest girlfriend. Butterball's mom works constantly between her time at the hospital and college classes to become a nurse. Mostly he spends his time with Evelyn, his mom's friend who makes gross vegetarian stews and rags on Butterball to behave himself. At school he has gotten a lot of attention, some good and some bad, for what he did to Maurice. Now a group of guys wants him to do it again to a guy Butterball has never met. But Butterball doesn't understand- this guy hasn't done anything to him, so why would Butterball bash his face in?
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