... surprising and audacious ... There are more than a few reasons why Pickle's Progress shouldn't work ... But the novel succeeds because of Butler's slyness — she's aware of the book's melodrama and even alludes to it at times ... Butler has a real understanding of the fraught dynamics of sibling relationships, and the way the brothers interact rings true ... a deeply weird novel that succeeds because of Butler's willingness to take risks and her considerable charisma — she's a gifted storyteller with a uniquely dry sense of humor and a real sympathy for her characters, even if they're not traditionally likable. It's not a perfect book, but it's a promising fiction debut from a writer who seems incapable of not going her own way.
Butler’s debut is character-driven, with little action and lots of dialogue in which her people maneuver and manipulate to get what they want (or think they want). The characters are exaggerated, often unlikable, and unperceptive at times ... There’s no closure to the question 'Now what?' But if she’s willing, Butler has a great opportunity to write a sequel and develop more nuanced and introspective characters ... In this study of how childhood experiences shape perception, and how deception keeps people caged, Butler shows that nothing need be set in stone.