Butterball by Brit Bennett
Brit Bennett is the author of The Vanishing Half and The Mothers, two books I loved due to Ms. Bennett’s outstanding characterizations. In Butterball, she works her magic again as we follow Sydney, the youngest member of the Butterball Turkey Emergency Squad. It’s the height of their season, what they have trained for all year: Thanksgiving. And Syd, young and pierced, takes her place in the call center with blue hairs such as Francine, whose chest gleams with the Turkey Medals she has earned each Thanksgiving. Indeed, you may wonder if Francine worked the original Turkey Hotline, where neighbors on the party line could hear your turkey questions and gossip behind your back (Can you believe Edna didn’t know that the innards were supposed to be removed before roasting?)
Syd, of course, had issues besides her job. There is the fact that she has nowhere to spend Thanksgiving. After coming out to her church-going family, well, home is not an option. Her married friend Therese? So, it’s been awkward since “the Kiss.” And then there is the guy who sells her pot.
Bennett’s mastery is that every character gets a name, a personality. There are no stock players, and I almost wish this could become a holiday novel. What in the world happens at Christmas? And how long do turkey leftovers really last?
The end of the story touches on the subject that the Butterball Hotline itself may go the way of the party line. With YouTube and TikTok (not mentioned, but the story was written pre-pandemic), you can watch with only the internet knowing that you had no idea you were supposed to take out the little giblet packets before roasting the turkey.
This is my B post for the April A to Z Blogging Challenge. On my blog road trip, today’s stop was
Tate’s writing was good enough to wake up memories of flying over my own bicycle handlebars. Take a gander!