The New Me (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

In the first two page chapter of The New Me, Butler manages to capture a
chillingly familiar voice - cynical, angry, trapped. This brilliant novel
captures our modern cycle of angst, despair, boredom and consumerism with
such accuracy and humor it blew me away. Millie, the thirty-something temp
in Chicago is a stand-in for all of us who have ever looked down out of a
fog at our hampster wheel and wondered why...--Sarah B

— From Sarah B


"A dark comedy of female rage" (Catherine Lacey) and a biting satire of the false promise of reinvention, by a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree and Granta Best Young American Novelist


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. Misanthropic and morose, she spends her days killing time at a thankless temp job until she can return home to her empty apartment, where she oscillates wildly between self-recrimination and mild delusion, fixating on all the little ways she might change her life. Then she watches TV until she drops off to sleep, 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 - one that involves nicer clothes, fresh produce, maybe even financial independence - within reach. But with it also comes the paralyzing realization, lurking just beneath the surface, of just how hollow that vision has become.

Darkly hilarious and devastating, The New Me is a dizzying descent into the mind of a young woman trapped in the funhouse of American consumer culture.

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…

The New Me is 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
"The New Me examines working womanhood, with all its privilege, ambition, objectification, and hierarchies, while confronting a nearly universal desire to build beautiful lives that society deems worth living. Every day holds a glittering future self, but reality diverges . . . in just under two hundred pages, Halle Butler made me laugh and cry enough times to feel completely reborn." —Nikki Shaner-Bradford, The Paris Review

"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; can’t wait for this one.” —LitHub

“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." —HuffPost

“Halle Butler is sure to become one of your new favorite writers.” —Bustle

“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

“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 absurdity of cubicle life and office work in all of its dead ends.” —The Millions

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

Praise for Jillian:

“The feel-bad book of the year . . . Sublimely awkward and hilarious.”
Chicago Tribune
“A claustrophobic, anxiety-inducing book.”
—Lydia Kiesling, The New Yorker
“Delightfully subversive . . . Not just the funniest book I've read in a long time, but also one of the most important ones.”
—Leland Cheuk, The Rumpus
Product Details
ISBN: 9780143133605
ISBN-10: 0143133608
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication Date: March 5th, 2019
Pages: 208
Language: English