AUTHOR Erin Jade Lange
PUBLICATION September 18, 2012 by Bloomsbury
READ August 25 - 26, 2012
A lonely obese boy everyone calls "Butter" is about to make history. He is going to eat himself to death-live on the Internet-and everyone is invited to watch. When he first makes the announcement online to his classmates, Butter expects pity, insults, and possibly sheer indifference. What he gets are morbid cheerleaders rallying around his deadly plan. Yet as their dark encouragement grows, it begins to feel a lot like popularity. And that feels good. But what happens when Butter reaches his suicide deadline? Can he live with the fallout if he doesn't go through with his plans? With a deft hand, E.J. Lange allows readers to identify with both the bullies and the bullied in this all-consuming look at one teen's battle with himself.
A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Butter was a character that I felt for, he was unhappy in his own skin and he had just given up on trying to get better. He felt that he had passed the point of no return and was wallowing in what could have been. I totally understood his helplessness, once you tip the scales at 423 lbs it's not exactly easy to lose it. While I of course didn't agree with where he decided to go with it, I at least understood his motives, and with a very over the top plot such as this, that's saying something. I've personally had people who suffer from both ends of this spectrum in my life and I thought the little things were handled perfectly; Butter's mothers attempts to appease him through food and the vicious cycle that creates is something that I have seen every day.
A complaint that I do have about the novel though is that at times I found myself being reminded by instances that the students were in high school and not junior high. The coddling the Butter receives at home as well as the reactions of the kids at his school felt quite juvenile to me, then they would hop in their cars, or have a drink, and I would think "Oh yeah, these guys are in high school." While there was some dissent among the students I do feel that it wouldn't have been swept under the rug quite as it was after the first night that the website went up. Especially in this day and age with suicide topping the headlines, but alas, this is a novel, a fiction novel at that.
Overall, I was very happy with the novel and it took me on a rollercoaster of emotions that I wasn't sure the subject matter would allow it too. Lang clearly did her research on the health issues at hand and it really showed in the execution of the plot. If you're looking for a contemporary read that is definitely different from the pack, then I would say Butter is for you.