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3.63  ·  Rating details ·  174 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Anne Panning’s fiction has been described as warm and original by Publishers Weekly, intelligent and humorous by the Boston Globe, graceful and wry by Booklist, and infectious and enchanting by the New York Times. In fact, Panning’s last collection of short stories, Super America, was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice. Enter this exciting new novel, the best wor ...more
Paperback, 226 pages
Published October 1st 2012 by Northern university press (first published January 1st 2012)
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Butter Safe Than Sorry by Tamar MyersFlies on the Butter by Denise Hildreth JonesButter by Erin Jade LangeCover the Butter by Carrie KabakButter by Anne Panning
5 books — 2 voters
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. SeussBreakfast at Tiffany's and Three Stories by Truman CapoteFried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie FlaggCharlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald DahlThe Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Morning Things
525 books — 50 voters

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Average rating 3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  174 ratings  ·  46 reviews

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Carol E.
Apr 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Found this at the library and had no idea what it was, but gave it a try. I'm glad I did. I loved it! This is the story of an 11- to 12-year-old girl in a small town in Minnesota. I could so much relate to her! The description of the little town sounds so much like where I grew up! Her father owns a creamery. My sister, cousins and I used to play at the creamery in the small town where our grandma lived. (They let us stick our bare fingers into the butter vats!) She always feels like she's not q ...more
Feb 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
I think the author wrote half a book. This was a nice introduction to some great characters, threw in a surprise at the end and that was it. I understand letting people want more, but there was NO resolution with anyone! Mom's book, the teacher, DeeDee's "incident", Adam's background...all hanging. This bothered me.
Monica Lee
Oct 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Just one of the reasons I enjoyed reading author Anne Panning’s novel “Butter”: She gets the details right. Set in small-town Minnesota in the 1970s, Panning’s novel is a love note to little towns growing up – or dying – amidst the corn fields of a different time. The coming-of-age story is about Iris, an 11-year-old whose parents’ marriage is disintegrating. You will fall in love with Iris even if you don’t love the story, described by the book jacket and some reviewers as “disquieting.”

Stacy  Natal
Oct 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Things I liked about this book:

1. The way that it flowed made me not want to put it down. I read it in two sittings.

2. The characters were well developed, except for the newly adopted brother, but the lack of development was probably on purpose.

3. It's a coming of age story in a non stable family, different from other coming of age books that I've read.

4. The author showed with detail what it was really like to be that age in the 70s. I felt like she was using examples of my life (combs that stu
Mary Dalton
Jun 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Anne Panning’s novel is a softer, gentler coming of age story, but it is also well-written and evocative. Set in a small town in Minnesota in the 1970s, the details of Iris’s life remind me of my own tween and teen years because of some of the popular culture references. Fortunately, I didn’t have to deal with the lack of family stability that she encounters. While the book is sad at times, there is a hopefulness that runs through the narrative, and the main character is brighter and stronger th ...more
Lisa Kotsonas
May 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A must-read for those growing up in Southern Minnesota in the 70's simply for the spot-on descriptions of small town culture and "fashion". I loved the County Seat reference--I too loved those cranberry cords! You'll love the young protagonist, Iris--well done!
Jul 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Here's another book about difficult mother-daughter relationships -- I'm on a string of three. This one was more palatable (Yes -- "Butter"), partly because it is told entirely from a young girl's point of view. The whole story takes place in about a year's time, when Iris is 11-12 years old. The author has a gift for getting inside a young girl's mind. My only criticism is that I kept feeling that it was taking place in the 1950s or 60s instead of the 70s, although maybe that's because the sett ...more
Gregg Sapp
May 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Critiquing this book forces me to confront one of my most inveterate literary pet peeves -- I can’t accept the whole premise behind any book written in the first person by a child narrator. It’s hard to buy the notion that any significant literary product is the work of such a youthful mind. In the real world, eleven year olds just don’t write books. I know and truly regret that this bias excludes me from fully appreciating a significant body of literature, beginning with The Adventures of Huckl ...more
Nov 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
Iris is a happy 11-year old member of a small family, but it's obvious that her small world is in danger of unraveling. She becomes aware of one unsettling fact after another, and then things really begin to fall apart. Her new brother, Adam, clearly brought on board to increase the family's happiness, does anything but. Her mother is deeply unhappy, and her father is struggling to save his beloved creamery business. Iris is struggling herself with the loss of her best friend and trials of being ...more
Jean Haberman
Nov 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club
Butter by Anne Panning is our November 2013 book club selection. Iris, an 11-year-old girl narrates her life growing up in small-town Minnesota during the 1970's. Iris is adopted by parents who have their own problems. Her dad owns a creamery, but sees the trend towards chain and department stores taking over family-owned businesses. Her mother is in her own world...typing a book? They adopt a boy named Adam after Iris' mother has a second miscarriage. After her parents split up, Iris suffers fr ...more
Oct 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: minnesota
This is a story set in a small town in Minnesota circa 1970s, told in the voice of a pre-teen. Panning does an excellent job of maintaining the voice and knowledge of life for the protagonist’s age level. Though I tired of over-description, the nostalgic walk through the times made for a fun read. The content of the story, however, was not so easy.

At the beginning of the story, eleven-year-old Iris learns she is adopted. Her mother experiences two miscarriages, her parents adopt a troubled twel
Terri Palermo
Sep 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: real-life-ish, 2013
I picked up this book because I thought it was the one made into a movie with Jennifer I'm not so sure.
It's very well written but I kept waiting for something to really happen. Sadly, it left me hanging and...well, wanting something to happen.
Angie Kaelberer
Feb 28, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Random Reader
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Not as cheery as a bright yellow cover may lead you to believe. Hence never judge a book by it. Anyhoo...the writer really draws you in and creats a world that is detailed yet not long windedly so. Im terrible at skipping paragraphs in books that go on and on but that isnt the case with this book. I didnt love the story so much because well its sad. Totally a preference thing. But i enjoyed it none that less.
Connie Quast
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Wasn't at all what I expected from a book with this title. in her acknowledgement the author credits her family with the knowledge she received in the making of butter, creameries, etc. But the book is actually a very sad story of a 12 year old girl living in a dysfunctional family, and has little to do with butter at all. I was looking forward to a delightful read, and was extremely disappointed. Would not recommend.
Trudy Ackerblade
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
A coming of age book about a young adopted girl who lives in Minnesota. She has a dysfunctional mother, a father lost in abandonment and depression, and an adopted brother who is clearly off the tracks. Anne Panning treats this "mess" with compassion and love. I don't get to read enough coming of age stories about young women. I really liked it.
Sep 04, 2018 rated it liked it
I liked but didn’t love the book, mostly because I didn’t know what any character really wanted, beyond “to belong,” or “to heal.” Books with stakes that are non-specific tend to leave me a little cold. But the Minnesota-in-the-70s was a fun peek into my wife’s world.
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
I have the disappointing tendency to lose momentum with a book--maybe the kids are really busy for a week, or our social calendar is full, or I'm working a lot--and then I have trouble picking it back up. Even books that I genuinely feel interested in. I refused to do that with this book. I didn't want to fill its reading time with other things, only to add it to my growing "abandoned" list.

So that, I suppose, is a plus for the book, but I have to admit that it is a very slow story. It's captiva
Mar 21, 2016 rated it it was ok
"It's small-town Minnesota in the 1970s, and 11-year-old Iris' family is collapsing. At first, life is stable: her father runs the town creamery, her mother works from home, and she has all the trappings befitting a relatively privileged child of the decade, including her very own Barbie Beauty Shop. But when her parents tell her she's adopted, and then adopt a troubled older boy (following two miscarriages), her idyllic world cracks apart. Before long, Iris is shuffled between her separated par ...more
Nov 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this coming of age story told in first person from the vantage point of 11/12-year-old Iris. It's set in the early 1970's in Wishbone, Minnesota, a fictional town near Mankato. Panning perfectly nails the preteen perspective, the shifting landscape of the 1970's and small-town Midwest America. Excellent writing! Many reviews have complained about the ending. I couldn't decide whether it was brilliant or if Panning didn't know quite how to end the story. I've concluded it was brilliant be ...more
Lucy Burdette
Apr 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this book very much. And I have to say the cover is stunning.

The writing is beautiful and the main character drawn in loving detail. The author was perfectly inside the head of her preteen protagonist, as she struggles to come of age in a difficult, complicated family. Be forewarned: Parts of it are sad and wrenching though, not an easy read. Panning leaves us with bothersome questions about how anyone manages to grow up whole, but we root for this girl all the way through and
Linda Ethier
May 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was captivated by this story told by a young girl as she struggles through early adolescence in a small town during the 1970s, dealing with her parents' separation, her father's loss of his business, as well as the usual difficulties with friends, siblings, and school. I couldn't help but care deeply for Iris, the narrator, as she goes through some very painful experiences, as well as a few (too few) happy ones. And I cried at the end, something I haven't done while reading a book for a long t ...more
Mar 29, 2013 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bonnie G
Feb 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
I agree with the description on Goodreads that this starts out as a sunny tale about small town life. As Iris' life becomes darker, she rises to the challenge. She often sees the best in people even though they may not be so cool. I especially liked her grandmother, of course, who was an even keel in her stormy life. Some may not like the end, but it follows from what goes before. Her mom was the hardest character to like.
Aug 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-reads, favorites
I was browsing books at the library when I saw the cover of "Butter" and wondered what kind of book it was. I usually can tell if I like a book by its opening paragraphs. I enjoy it when the narrator's thoughts jump from the inner thoughts to the conversation at hand. I also love a child's narration. It keeps me guessing what is actual and what is their viewpoint. I found the book more or less consistently interesting and the ending did not let me down as others have mentioned.
Nov 07, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a very well written and deeply descriptive book as narrated by an 11 year old girl. Panning does a wonderful job writing from a preteen point of view. As the reader, you are easily placed into a small town in the seventies. I enjoyed this read and the characters, but the ending felt unfinished in so many ways.
Jennifer Myers
Jan 17, 2016 rated it liked it
It was fun to read about growing up from the viewpoint of a 12 year old girl in Minnesota. They refer to Mankato, and toys that I played with, and the experiences of a household when parents are separated. I could relate to all of these things. Not sure if I'd read another book of hers as the writing style was a little weird, but it could've just been because the narrator was young.
Oct 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Great book! I loved the characters (well, not all of them) and how specific details are. I could visualize every scene through Iris' eyes. I was definitely not expecting the ending of this book, but it works.
Nov 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. It's heart-breaking but poignant, and the narrator's voice is so genuine. I kept turning pages, even though I sensed events in this young girl's life would only get darker.

Beautiful & worth a read!
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