This is going to be an interesting book review. Butter is a fantastic book but damn it is going to be so hard to explain it and review without making it sound overly morbid. The concept of the book shocked me but also intrigued me. After reading Erin Jade Lange’s Rebel Bully Geek Pariah book (which is FANTASTIC), I really wanted to read another. This is my review for Butter.
Butter by Erin Jade Lange
“You think I eat a lot now? That’s nothing. Tune in December 31st, when I will stream a live webcast of my last meal. Death row inmates get one. Why shouldn’t I? I can’t take another year in this fat suit, but I can end this year with a bang. If you can stomach it, you’re invited to watch . . . as I eat myself to death. —Butter”
This is a story about a teenager called Butter. Of course, his real name is not Butter. Butter is a nickname that he received after getting bullied by some boys 5 years prior and it stuck. He is an outsider to people, weighing in at over 432 pounds. Butter drives a fancy BMW but has to park in a disabled spot at school. He never asked for this, but the walk from the car park to school was too much so he gave in. Butter has a specially designed desk for him at school to hold his weight, and his own table at the back of the dinner hall.
Back home, his mother feeds him all sorts of delicious food which Butter loves but hates at the same time. He loves his mother but hates how she feeds him. His father can’t stand to look at him anymore. Maybe it is because he thinks of Butter as a failure. A past time that Butter enjoys is playing his saxophone in his bedroom. He loves the cool clean sounds that he can create. While not jamming out with his sax, Butter spends his time on the internet chatting to his crush, Anna. Anna goes to his school and is in some of Butter’s classes, but she does not know who Butter is. Butter goes by the online handle JP. He keeps things mysterious with Anna so she cannot tell who he is, and it works out great. They have a wonderful relationship online and he is happy whenever he can talk to her.
Soon Butter discovers a list that has the whole school talking. A list that he is listed on as “Most likely to get a heart attack”. This is the final straw for him. Thinking that he is a failure to his parents, a lost cause and beyond hope he decides to create a website called ButtersLastMeal.com where he posts a blog about eating himself to death online. He also plans on streaming the whole thing to put on a show.
Is it even possible to do this? Well with some research into ways of eating yourself to a point of no return, Butter wanted to make sure he was in it to the last bite. But things don’t turn out quite like he hoped. It turns out that everyone at school who saw his blog admires Butter for it! Some kids call him out saying it’s a bluff, that he cannot be serious or that he is full of shit, but everyone is talking about it.
Not what he expected
Before he knows it, Butter is hanging with the “in” crowd at school. He is allowed to sit at the table with them and is soon calling them friends. Friends they may be at school, but online they showed a different side. They constantly provided Butter with suggestions about food he should eat for his “final” meal. People even placed bets on what his final meal list would contain! Some people still called him bullshit and that he would not have the balls to kill himself, but it was these comments that drove Butter forward and made his decision clear. After all, it was HIS decision, right? There was nothing left for him.
Butter enjoyed the attention he was receiving from his “friends” who weren’t really his friends. He was enjoying the hype that his blog was receiving about his final meal. For once, he was starting to feel alive. But he knows that as soon as New Year’s Eve hit things would be over. If he didn’t go through with it, he would be a nobody again. Butter did not dream that during the build up to his final day, he could feel alive but so scared. He didn’t really want things to end. But what choice did he have? Everyone was cheering him on. The sick bastards.
People care, they really care
Butter was so hung up on everyone that commented on his blog, talking about his final meal, that he casted off anyone who actually cared for him. His Professor at school adores Butter and his ability to make the saxophone sound “As smooth as Butter” (he is also the only teacher who calls Butter by his nickname for this reason.)
His doctor – Dr Bean – also cares about Butter. He wants to see him progress and loose weight for the ladies. The doctor encourages him so much, but he doesn’t like to hear it. He feels like no matter what he does, he just does not loose any weight. What is the point? Tucker, his friend from FitFab (a group of people who go to camp to loose weight) also tries to encourage Butter to keep going in the right direction. After Tucker lost a lot of weight though, it made Butter want to binge eat more. He hated how Tucker left him behind like that.
With the final day approaching, will Butter be able to go through with his final meal and leave everything behind? Or will he be able to see what he has now and learn to get through life. The ending tells all.
The ending got me in knots. The whole book had me thinking how cruel children at high school can be online. How black and white all of the characters were. A boy who clearly hates who he is and wishes that there was more to life than being morbidly obese. Maybe he just needed to have a restart button? To see that people were there to help him when he needed it.
I loved every minute of it. There was just something so gut-wrenching and real about this book for me. I could relate with the fact I was once morbidly obese and I hated how it made me feel. What this book shows is that there is always help available if you are willing to look for it. To let the help actually HELP you. I know that for a lot of people, the premise of the book is super dark (Literally, a fat kid wanting to eat himself to death. Quite extreme) but do not let that stop you from reading Butter.
Butter is a roller coaster of a ride filled with varying emotions. If you are willing to jump on the cart and take it for a spin, I highly suggest it!
Flails out of 5
Butter by Erin Jade Lange gets a whopping 5 out of 5 flails! A black and white book with some proper lessons to learn.