The Butler Gets a Break is the sequel to Leaving the Bellweathers, a humorous middlegrade novel written by Kristin Clark Venuti.
If you have not yet read Leaving the Bellweathers, you may not want to read this review of the sequel. I, however, was unable to get a chance to read the first novel before reading The Butler Gets a Break and found it hilarious nevertheless. So you may be safe to learn more by reading below... Though of course I always recommend reading series in order whenever possible! Ditto to avoiding spoilers!!!
Benway, the well-educated butler of the eccentric, and quite often dangerous, Bellweather family, has only recently decided that he wants to continue to serve with the family when the ten-year-old triplets Brick, Spike, and Sassy inadvertently cause the poor man to break his leg as he descends the stairs. You see, they were experimenting with their new form of art: "negative space". This pretty much consists of cutting two stairs out of the staircase completely, and leaving it that way.
So, injured Benway is forced to take a "vacation" at the hospital - though he is hesitant to leave the Bellweathers to their own devices... Of which he is quite right to worry as the triplet's are sent by their father to camp, where they terrorize the archaeologist and become fanatical about their new project: digging. Spider, the oldest Bellweather sibling at fifteen, desperately attempts stopping the sudden Attack Squirrel epidemic in their town of Eel-Smack-by-the-Bay, of which he is afraid he may have caused. Ninda, the fourteen-year-old sister, finds a new cause to champion and is deadly determined to "help" a group of people being unjustly treated by their corrupt mayor. Hopefully, "helping" these people won't end up meaning holding them kidnapped in her bedroom and treating them like pets... like last time - until, that is, Benway intervened.
But the Bellweather family doesn't want poor, healing Benway to worry - so on their visits they go on and on about his lovely, perfect replacement (a nonexistent Paddywhack), leading the butler to wonder if he was ever truly needed after all.
Wow! What an incredibly, stupendously FUN and fast-paced read!!! The Butler Gets a Break immediately satiated my need for a quirky, humor-riddled story, calling to mind my much beloved A Series of Unfortunate Events in its clever wordplay and delightful lunacy.And the teasingly dramatic, amusing, entertaining storytelling method only helps to make The Butler Gets a Break be honestly, crazily good!
At first, since I was sadly unable to read Leaving the Bellweathers, the novel's predecessor, the whos-who of the Bellweather family is an immense thing to decipher, but the joyous, asylum-ready narrative makes it more than worth it. In fact, once I got down who everyone was - I found myself growing quite attached to these irresistibly insane characters!
A warm family feel mixed with absurd comedy, The Butler Gets a Break is ravishingly ridiculous, happily hilarious, and addictive (Benway's journal entries are priceless - I must read more of them!!!)!
I think I've made my point clear enough. The Butler Gets a Break may be a great read for younger readers, but it's also zany perfection for us older folk! ;)
I hope, hope, hope, hope for more Bellweather novels!!! Please Ms. Venuti, please?!