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3.78  ·  Rating details ·  1,481 ratings  ·  286 reviews
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
Hardcover, 314 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Razorbill (first published January 1st 2011)
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Average rating 3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,481 ratings  ·  286 reviews

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Jay G
Jan 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my Youtube channel:

One day on the playground, 13 year old Butterball took a sock filled with batteries and beat up one of his closest friends, Maurice, sending him to the hospital. Now, he is being forced to talk to a therapist, Liz, as part of his detention. Butterball doesn't want Liz to uncover what really happened that day on the playground, but as their sessions continue, he begins to trust her with
Reading Vacation
Oct 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
I was really surprised when Playground showed up in the mail. Come on now! WHAT could I have in common with a bully named Butterball? I went into the book with really low expectations. I. WAS. WRONG. Playground was a deep thinking type of read for me and Butterball was a sort of hero. I could see a lot of middle school and high school boys liking it.

Butterball was an overweight African American kid from the city with umm… a lot… of issues. At first, Butterball was not an easy character to identi
Sep 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
So 50 Cent wrote a young adult book, and it's good. The blurb compares it to Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian. Let's not go crazy. It's not that good. Yet, the comparison holds in ways I didn't expect.
Butterball, who's real name is Burton, is an overweight 14 year old when he badly beats up a kid at school. He's sent to Liz, an out of touch white psychologist, to try and figure out the root of his issues. And he has lots of issues - deadbeat dad who is a passive
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Read entire review on my blog

Did you know 50 Cent could write? Other than songs, that is. He wrote this novel loosely inspired by his adolescence and with his 14 year old son in mind.
I was very skeptical of this book and was surprised to find a very nicely, straight forward, touching and easy story to read; I was even more surprised when I found myself liking it! Because, yes, I liked it.

I’m not into stories of bullies with a big redemption at the end an
Ayala Levinger
Apr 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I like the story very much and it was good written. Maybe because I am an adult I already saw the mistakes Burton aka Butterball made, was making and was going to make. How he still didn't have a clue and needed to figure things out and it was very interesting to read how he figures things out. I was only disappointed that the happy end had to contain the fat child becoming not fat anymore. For me it could just be a perfectly happy end even if the writer "allowed" the main character to stay fat. ...more
Jan 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
Ugh. I know that this book will appeal to certain readers. And I know that those are the readers that need more books to appeal to them. But... Well, the book is just so... ugh. But my criticisms of it come from such an old-white-lady perspective. I was annoyed by the fact that his father stole shoes and there was no consequence. I was annoyed that Butterball's "growth" was when he stood up for a little kid by menacing another kid. I was annoyed that the illustration on the cover was of the cele ...more
May 07, 2016 rated it liked it
This would have been four stars for me, but the time-jumping just didn't make sense. I can't figure out why sometimes we're experiencing events chronologically and why sometimes we're doing flashbacks to events while in the counselor's office. It doesn't seem to serve a purpose, and it makes things confusing. And if I find it confusing, I know my students will.

HOWEVER, my students WILL like the real narrative voice and dialogue, and luckily the final third of the book runs pretty much chronologi
Oct 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Not only has 50 Cent provided a decent resource for young folks and those who support them, but he's written a relatively enjoyable novel besides. He makes a great case for the theory that bullies are often bullied themselves, and provides relatable insight into a "mean kid's" secret thoughts and vulnerabilities. Sure the plot is predictable, and the characters are little more than tired stereotypes, but overall this book is pretty damn a'ight. ...more
Henry Alimanestianu
Sep 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
As soon as I started reading this book, I knew that I was going to like it. I knew this because it starts off with Butterball hitting Maurice in the face with a sock full of batteries, and I don't like it because I like that gruesome stuff a lot because I don't. I like it because it captivated me almost immediately and I wanted to find out why he did this. From then on it remained an interesting book. ...more
Agais Garcia
Dec 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing

This book is based on a kid and he was not rich and is mom and dad were not together. He was fat and he would get mad at kids that made fun of him. In one part he had stold up to a and he had hit the kid with a sock with batters and the story grabed you with a fight at the start of the book and that is a good start to the book. I think you should realy this book its a book for a good life lesson to show you to stand up to your bully
Jun 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not even gonna lie, going into this book my expectations were low. I just wanted a quick book to cut down my physical tbr a little. But I'm happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised! Butterball was a captivating character and it was interesting to follow his journey of self discovery. ...more
Oct 20, 2013 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Yash Parikh
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Curtis Jackon III is the reason I picked this book up. Yes, 50 Cent is the author of this book, and yes, he wrote a compelling story I couldn't put down. Unlike many of the other (mostly) autobiographical novels from other artists, 50 cent creates a story here that is uniquely his own venture into the fiction category.

Butterball, an obese young adolescent, struggles with issues that the average reader most likely couldn’t even imagine. Issues bigger than the constant flood of fat jokes like “do
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Butterball is an eighth grader recently relocated from New York City to Garden City, Long Island after his parents split. After a year and a half at his new school, he has only one friend, no one to turn to for advice, and zero academic ambition. After he undertakes an act of violence, Butterball hopes to be rewarded with respect...but along with his new reputstion come twice weekly visits with a social worker in order to return to school.
As Butterball's visits with "Liz" - and his eighth grade
Emily Geldmeier
Jan 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Guys! 50 Cent wrote a book?!? Sign me up.

And while I originally swiped this from one of my high school students out of skeptical curiosity, it completely fits the bill for my low level/reading resistant readers. Told from the perspective of a bully, mainly through conversations he had with his therapist, I found the character's growth authentic and sympathetic. It has some language that might keep me from suggesting it to younger/sensitive readers, but for me it was part of what made the protag
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Playground was a phenomenal book, despite what people say (or at least used to say) about 50 Cent. Curtis Jackson is an amazing author and I would love to read more of his books. Playground was a book based on his childhood but it didn't have himself as the sole character. Butterball was the sole characters name and he was a troublemaker. Although he was a troublemaker, it all worked out for him in the end. I recommend this book if you're really interested in learning more about 50 Cent's life! ...more
Diego Hernandez
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
it was a really good boo, Butterball is a great examples of what happens when a kid is bullied by others. He shows lots of growth by the end of the book as he improves a lot thanks to Liz. 50 Cent does a great job writing the book as his delivery is raw and real. just like his music.
Mar 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heidi Hopf
Jan 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I am so surprised at how great this book was! Very sad at times, but just positively brilliant.
Be ready for a few tears but definitely worth a read!
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I had no idea that rapper 50 Cent dabbled in fiction. There is a co-author here, so it will probably never be known how much was actually written by his hand. A blurb by him in the beginning, however, tells us it is based on his life.

"Playground" is the story of a 7th grader nicknamed Butterball. He receives this name as a result of bullying from his peers because he is obese. He lives with his single mother in Garden City, Long Island, a town that he hates, after a recent divorce from his fath
Oct 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
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.

The story is narrated by thirteen-year-old Butterball, nicknamed because
Ismael Kassim
Nov 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sandra Stiles
When I was given the opportunity to possibly win a copy of this book I signed up only because I loved the premise of the book. I honestly knew nothing about the author except I believed he was a rapper. After getting the book and reading it I decided to look up the author. I read several articles on him and his reasons for writing the book. I could not say I expected him to say he was a bully at some point in his life as I knew nothing about him or his music. I was pleased to realize that the bo ...more
Wow, this book was fantastic. I didn't always like Butterball, but after reading this book I can imagine why he did and acted like he did.

Butterball, or let's call him with his real name: Burton. A boy with divorced parents, stuck in a bad school and surroundings. When we first get to know him we have no clue why he suddenly decided to follow the road of a bad guy, but we slowly find it out piece by piece.
I never had the feeling that Burton was a bad guy, he just tried to act tough. His life was
Kaleiah Spencer
Jan 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book was about a young teenager named Butterball. Buterball isn't the perfect teenager, he makes very por decisions. He fights because he has no other way to express his anger.Now, that Butterball goes to see a psycholgist his anger level has decreased and he's learning to control his anger. Butterball does what he sees others do that's why he acts like a tough kid all the time.

This book teaches you hoe to treat others the way youb want to be treated. If you want to be treated with respec
Jun 09, 2012 added it
Playground is about a kid nick named Butterball because he is overweight. One day he gets tried of it and beats up his friend Maurice. This incident shocks his mom and the school. They force him to see a therapist. Being this "tuff" guy he is unwilling to talk to her. Slowly he sees that she isn't horrible and answers a few questions. One day while he was in her office her starts telling her more than he really wanted to. He starts to see that his problems are at home. His mom is never around an ...more
Xavier Garcia
Dec 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Playground is a young adult fiction book. By reading this book it is clear that divorce affects the behavior of the children experiencing the separation. When Butterball attacks Maurice in the playground he justifies the thesis by saying, " And I'd be lying if I said that didn't feel pretty good." Throughout the book Butterball struggles with his psychiatrist to understand why he wanted to hurt Maurice so badly. "I know your moms gay Butterball. You could've just told me because I wouldn't have ...more
Amy Dreger
Jan 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Playground is the story of "Butterball," an 8th grader who finds himself in counseling after attacking a fellow student with a sock full of batteries. As Butterball opens up to his counselor, we learn about his motives and his personal struggles dealing with a sometimes-available father who is a terrible role model and a mother who Butterball has a hard time seeing eye to eye with.

Despite the simple text, Butterball is a complex character who faces many of the struggles most middle schoolers enc
Feb 10, 2012 rated it liked it

This was way better than I thought it would be. It started off slowly for me, not to mention very cliche. I honestly picked it up more because 50 Cent was the author than anything. But asButterball started to open up, I found myself opening up to the book as well. This is the kind of book I can see a lot of middle grade aged boys really connecting with - themes of insecurities, what it means to be a man, roll models hoped for, fitting in, redemption, choices parents make and how it affects kids
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Curtis James Jackson III (born July 6, 1975), known professionally as 50 Cent, is an American rapper, songwriter, television producer, actor, and entrepreneur. Known for his impact in the hip hop industry, he has been described as a "master of the nuanced art of lyrical brevity".

Born in the South Jamaica neighborhood of Queens, Jackson began selling drugs at age 12 during the 1980s crack epidemic.

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