The New Me (Paperback)

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March 2019 Indie Next List

“Halle Butler so perfectly depicts a young woman who has no direction in life in The New Me. She’s just going to work in order to get a paycheck for rent and groceries, just so she can live to go to work again—the vicious cycle many in our society find themselves in today. The New Me is juicy and kind of like watching the perfect train wreck. You know you should look away, but instead you can’t put the book down. Highly recommended for fellow lovers of contemporary fiction.”
— Kristen Beverly, Half Price Books, Dallas, TX


"A dark comedy of female rage" (Catherine Lacey) and a biting satire of life in the American workforce from a National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" honoree and Granta Best Young American Novelist
“Masterfully cringe-inducing. . . [makes] the reader squirm and laugh out loud simultaneously.” —Chicago Tribune

I'm still trying to make the dream possible: still might finish my cleaning project, still might sign up for that yoga class, still might, still might. I step into the shower and almost faint, an image of taking the day by the throat and bashing its head against the wall floating in my mind.

Thirty-year-old Millie just can't pull it together. She spends her days working a thankless temp job and her nights alone in her apartment, fixating on all the ways she might change her situation--her job, her attitude, her appearance, her life. Then she watches TV until she falls asleep, and the cycle begins again.

When the possibility of a full-time job offer arises, it seems to bring the better life she's envisioning within reach. But with it also comes the paralyzing realization, lurking just beneath the surface, of how hollow that vision has become.

About the Author

Halle Butler is the author of Jillian. She has been named a National Book Award Foundation "5 Under 35" honoree and a Granta Best Young American Novelist.

Praise For…

"[A] definitive work of millennial literature . . . wretchedly riveting." —The New Yorker

"In just under two hundred pages, Halle Butler made me laugh and cry enough times to feel completely reborn." —The Paris Review
"Halle Butler creates humor in the mundane . . . Writing with wit and spirit, she gives us a sharp and candid satire of the American workplace . . . No matter which generation you're in, this dark, psychological comedy is a must-read.” —The TODAY Show

"A scathingly funny take on the millennial-burnout phenomenon." —Entertainment Weekly 

"If you loved My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh, don’t miss this sardonic and grimly relatable new book from Halle Butler." —Bustle 

"Masterfully cringe-inducing and unsparingly critical, The New Me extends Butler’s interrogation of those subjects, making the reader squirm and laugh out loud simultaneously . . . Ingenious . . . [Butler's] wit and insight keep the pages turning." —The Chicago Tribune

"Anyone who has ever felt like their life is going nowhere—and to make it worse, going nowhere in an achingly slow manner—will recognize themselves in Halle Butler's new novel." —Nylon

"A brilliant excoriation of the marketers telling us that life offers an unending parade of do-overs. Butler nails the unspoken hierarchies of contemporary office life in this wry and utterly terrifying work." —Vulture 
"Few authors capture the acidic angst of downtrodden millennials like Butler, whose heroines, trapped in precarious and soulless work, take comfort in consumption, in cynicism, in ill-fated self-improvement." —Huffington Post

"[The New Me] dives deep into the idea of millennial burnout. . . Many readers will identify with Butler's psychologically astute yet somewhat hopeless inner monologue." —Mind Body Green

"Office Space meets millennial burnout in this inspired comic novel . . . A must-read for misanthropes, victims of office lunch theft, and anyone whose illusions about the American dream of steady work and a pension need shattering." —Esquire

"The author deftly shifts Millie’s internal monologue between hope and anxiety. Mr. Moran [director of the Wisonsin Book Festival] said he wanted to reach into the page and shake the millennial out of her stupor, but he also wanted to give her a hug and pay for her dinner." —The Wall Street Journal, "The 10 Books You’ll Want to Read This Spring"

"Wake up, look in the mirror, swear it will all be different today. Sound familiar? Here's that feeling in novel form: Meet Millie, a 30-year-old flailing around in dissatisfaction. A job offer seems to promise reinvention—but, sadly, easy transformations are for caterpillars, not lonely, anxiety-ridden women." —Elle

"A skewering of the 21st-century American dream of self-betterment. Butler has already proven herself a master of writing about work and its discontents." —The Millions 

"Millie is just the kind of misanthropic, hopeful/doomed thirty-year-old we’ve all known, and/or been, and/or loved, and/or hated. Butler is an essential contemporary voice.” —LitHub

"In The New Me by Halle Butler, Millie goes from her temp job to her home and back again, repeating an unfulfilling cycle every day. The New Me is a sharp, darkly comedic examination of capitalism, millennial life, and how to escape it all." —Bitch Media

"This quick-paced novel . . . make[s] you feel things you'd have to wait hundreds of pages to experience in a much longer epic. Meet Millie, who at 30 is keen on reinventing herself. The answer, the millennial believes, may come in the form of a full-time job, but of course, capitalism, feminism and general laugh-out-loud angst all interfere." —amNewYork

"Even in the midst of Millie’s strained hopefulness, Butler’s incisive prose cuts sharp. Millie is, like us all, nominally an adult in a world that finds little dignity in adulthood." —Chicago Review of Books

"[The New Me] brilliantly captures the anxiety of the era . . . It’s depressing and hilarious, cynical and side-splitting. Butler’s observations of character, dialogue, and social class are barbed and relatable." —Newcity Lit

"The kind of humor found in The New Me is so sharp it cuts." —Popsugar

"It takes a particular kind of talent to write about stultifying boredom in a way that feels zippy, but Halle Butler pulls it off in The New Me, which takes place smack in the middle of the gig economy. Butler captures the lows and even-lowers of being a temp, the microaggressions and the larger ones, the existential agony and yearning for the kind of fulfillment that the rest of the world seems to know how to get. Her physical descriptions are so precise and cutting you might find yourself laughing, or shivering, with recognition." —Vulture, “6 New Paperbacks You Should Read Right Now” 

“[A] sometimes funny, sometimes tragic psychodrama . . . Halle Butler’s curmudgeonly, black-humored depiction of what now passes for work, for friendship, for a life will appeal to fans of Ottessa Moshfegh.” —Newsday 

"A sharp and observant writer, who takes to task the tragicomedy of modern capitalism . . . Butler has created a disquieting heroine with an indelible voice." —Publishers Weekly

"A bouncy, profane, highly addictive novel about work, female friendship, and other alienations. Halle Butler’s insane talent shimmers on every page of this deadpan misanthrope’s ode. A must-read!" —Claire Vaye Watkins, author of Gold Fame Citrus and Battleborn

"The New Me renders contemporary American life in such vivid, stinging color that certain sentences are liable to give the reader a paper cut. But you’ll want to keep on reading anyway. Halle Butler is terrific, and I loved this book." —Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble

"A dark comedy of female rage. Halle Butler is a first-rate satirist of the horror show being sold to us as Modern Femininity. She is Thomas Bernhard in a bad mood, showing us the futility of betterment in an increasingly paranoid era of self-improvement. Hilarious." —Catherine Lacey, author of Nobody Is Ever Missing and The Answers
"A bleak and brutal book that exposes a nearly unbearable futility to life in the workforce, not to mention life outside it. Butler’s vision is funny and raw and dark—a cautionary tale, hilarious and intimate, against growing up and making do." —Ben Marcus, author of The Flame Alphabet

"Halle Butler has a way of looking at our twenty-first-century neoliberalist condition that simultaneously exposes its brutality and renders that same brutality absurd, hilarious, fizzy with humor.  She's an incisive, curmudgeonly bard of the uniquely precarious times we live in, and it is crucial that you read her immediately." —Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9780143133605
ISBN-10: 0143133608
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication Date: March 5th, 2019
Pages: 208
Language: English