Playground by 50 Cent

4:33 AM

PlaygroundTitle: Playground
Author: 50 Cent and Lauren Moser
Publisher: Razorbill
Release: November 1, 2011
Pages: 272
Series: None
Thirteen-year-old Butterball doesn’t have much going for him. He’s teased mercilessly about his weight. He hates the Long Island suburb his mom moved them to and wishes he still lived with his dad in the city. And now he’s stuck talking to a totally out-of-touch therapist named Liz.

Liz tries to uncover what happened that day on the playground—a day that landed one kid in the hospital and Butterball in detention. Butterball refuses to let her in on the truth, and while he evades her questions, he takes readers on a journey through the moments that made him into the playground bully he is today.

This devastating yet ultimately redemptive story is told in voice-driven prose and accented with drawings and photographs, making it a natural successor to The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

Loosely inspired by 50 Cent’s own adolescence, and written with his fourteen-year-old son in mind, Playground is sure to captivate wide attention— and spark intense discussion.

When I got offered a review copy of this book, I was a little skeptical about it, but I decided to give it a chance. When I actually read it, I was very pleasantly surprised about how interesting and well written the book was. In fact, I ended up reading the book in a single day because I couldn't put it down.

The cover of the book was not one of my favourite aspects of the book. My biggest complaint was that 50 Cent's name was larger than the title. I do however, like the way the colours were incorporated into the title and Butterball's sweater. The font of the title was rough, showing Butterball's past was not smooth sailing. I like how having Butterball leaning up against the words gave the reader a more accurate mental image while reading the book.

The characters of this story were surprisingly deep in characteristics. Butterball was both the the protagonist and the antagonist of this book. He went through huge amounts of growth during the period of this novel, but he started out as a bully; he was his own problem. Butterball's problems stemmed with the fact that he didn't have a good relationship with his father and he didn't have much of a creative outlet, and to add to all of it, he was forced to move from the action of the big city and his friends to a quieter area and a school with few friends. His father, who he looked up to and respected, was a very poor influence, adding to Butterball's issues. His mother was one of his only positive influences, she turned her life around and was finding happiness. Liz was Butterball's counselor and his other good influence, talking to him constantly to find out what made him tick.

Though this book was a celebrity book, which I generally stay away from, I found this one to be very insightful into the bully's mind and home life. I liked the honesty that went into the writing, how Curtis (50 Cent) was able to feed from his own past to give the story and writing life and build a stronger book. With the aid of his co-author Laura Moser, the writing was a great aspect of this novel. It carried the description needed to make the story memorable. The story was told through Butterball's point of view, but the interesting aspect was that a lot of the twists were revealed through his counseling sessions with Liz, giving another layer of depth to the importance of his growth throughout the course of the book.

Overall, I give Playground a 4/5 for being a good book with a lot of insight into it's topic matter. I would recommend this book to any fan of 50 Cent or anyone who wants a good redemption story.

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  1. Wonderful review, girl!!! :) I am so glad you liked it as much as I did! I, too, was very skeptical prior to picking it up, but how could I pass it up?! I just had to read it and find out what the hell was going on with 50 CENT writing YA books!! haha :) I liked it a lot, tho! Like you said, this book is a very pleasant surprise!

    Thanks for a great review! Hugs from Vancouver :)

  2. Thanks Evie! It was really good :) Hugs as well :)


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