Published: September 18th, 2012
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Source: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
"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?"~Goodreads
I have to be honest and say that the whole concept for this book was so dark that I really put off reading it for the longest time. The idea of a kid eating himself to death in front of all of his classmates is incredibly disturbing. That's why I was surprised by how quickly I was drawn into the story and how much this book really affected me. Butter made me every type of imaginable emotion. It is funny, infuriating, and deeply sad. Butter is 100% worth your time.
Butter's Character Development: Lange's writing is so easy to get sucked into. It is really hard to believe that this book wasn't written by a morbidly obese teenage boy. Butter's voice is so well-crafted that the reader really cares about him. He isn't just the fat kid who gets teased and is sad about it. He is an incredibly complex character who is desperately trying to find a way to matter to his peers. His internal struggles with self-esteem, depression, love and suicide are expertly written so that the reader understands exactly what he must be going through. There is real love put into this character.
The issue at hand: This book deals with suicide, among other things, and this can be a difficult subject to tackle. Lange does a wonderful job. It would have been easy enough to write a book about a loner teen, who decides to kill himself, but Lange adds much more depth to the story. Butter gains acceptance from his peers after announcing his plans and still struggles with his demons. This book is about more than a suicidal teenager. It is about all of the turmoil that someone who has made this decision goes through, it is about the finality of that decision and it is about finding a reason to live.
Not an easy, feel-good read: Butter is not a book to pick up when you want to smile. In fact, there were parts of this story that I didn't think I could get through. However, I think that the emotional challenges this book presents are what make it an important story.
The kids at Butter's school: I hated these kids. Don't get me wrong, they were well-written and the development was great, but they were awful. I couldn't imagine that an entire school would want to show up for a viewing party to watch a classmate kill himself. The extent of the nastiness of these kids made them somewhat unbelievable. I would have liked it if there were some that were a bit more level-headed or just showed some common human decency.
When all is said and done, I am really glad I decided to read Butter. I think it is one of those books that changes the way you think about and look at other people and those are the most important kinds of stories. I would recommend this if you are looking for a thought-provoking (and sometimes anger-provoking) read.