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Playground Hardcover – November 1, 2011
Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life
Bestselling author James Patterson's most beloved middle grade protagonist, Rafe Khatchadorian, is getting the Hollywood treatment. Hardcover
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About the Author
Read the first chapter from Playground [PDF].
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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?Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is great for middle school and high school children especially if a teacher needs to address bullying.Published 2 months ago by Dana C. Caldwell
The main character of Playground has the nickname of Butterball. He is an 'average' kid who is entering the world of being a bully. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
When I got this book I did not know what to expect. I thought it was going to be bad because of the price. To my surprise this book is life changing. Read morePublished 7 months ago by SJCLane
Even though this book was written more for the teen scene, I still enjoyed it. The main character went through some dark times, he was bullied, he bullied; but, in the end, he... Read morePublished 16 months ago by B. Stone
This is a great book, and it's amazing that Hip Hop legend 50 cent is doing his part in combatting bullying. I highly recommend this.Published on April 15, 2014 by Azeem
This was really good. I saw it at a book store and decided not to buy it at the time. The first day of school I went into the library which I visit frequently to look at the new... Read morePublished on September 8, 2013 by E101
It was an amazing storie. He made it just for kids and that's very very nice of 50 cent to do thatPublished on March 21, 2013 by Phil Lukan
I loved the character of butterball and I could relate to his school dilemma. It was an easy read and gave insight into thinking about your actions instead of acting on impulse. Read morePublished on January 3, 2013 by Karla Manley
I liked this book. It was interesting to hear things from the perspective of a bully. I was a little intrigued mostly because of the book's author moreso than the storyline when I... Read morePublished on December 27, 2012 by Kim