Marvel worries about anything and everything. She worries about earthquakes, speaking in public, amusement park rides — and not well in school. Her therapist says her worries are anxiety, but Marvel calls them armor. Like Murphy’s Law: “If anything can go wrong, it will.” So to Marvel, it’s best to worry about all the possible bad things that can happen to her so she is prepared for the worst.
That’s until she meets Butter, a myotonic goat. Like Marvel, Butter panics and worries just like her. When he senses danger, his body freezes up and he faints. When Marvel is with Butter, she momentarily forgets about her fears. But when it’s time to give up her animal friend, will she go back to the anxious person she once was?
Better With Butter, by Victoria Piontek, is a sweet, heartwarming story that is relatable to someone with anxiety. Reading about people who go through the same things as you is like talking to a friend who understands you completely.
One thing that really stuck out was the imagery of Butter the goat. I think he symbolized anxiety and how it feels to be so scared of the uncontrollable future. I think he also represented the strength in anxiety: especially the courage to get back up again each time he fainted.
I recommend this book to any tween who has anxiety. Parents should be aware of occasional mean remarks and bullying from kids in the book, as well as the idea of mental health disorders.
Four out of four roses!