My Thoughts On: Butter by Erin Jade Lange

Posted September 20, 2012 by Asheley in Uncategorized / 12 Comments


Butter by Erin Jade Lange
Published by Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Publish Date: September 4, 2012
316 Pages
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

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? –(summary from Goodreads)

Butter by Erin Jade Lange



My Thoughts:  It took me forever to decide whether or not I wanted to read this book. I read one other blog post about it and even just reading that post, I was all clinchy and uncomfortable – but that is because I’m all weird about these issue books. With 2012 being my own personal year of contemporary, and more recently with my effort of reading more issue books, I decided that I was going to tackle this one.

*******************************************************

Butter is a neat sixteen year old kid. He’s smart and he can play the hell out of a saxophone. His problem is that he weighs over 400 pounds. Why is this a problem? Besides the obvious health risk, Butter kind of hides behind his weight. He is sure that his size is what everyone notices first. So much so that he hides away from everyone, preferring not to stand out rather than to make friends and enjoy his life.

Butter is insecure about most everything. When something bothers him, he eats. Occasionally, he’ll gather up some gumption and decide to lose weight, but this usually only last a short while before he’s back at the big meals and snacks again. When Butter notices that his only friend – who is also overweight – has started dropping pounds and getting healthy, Butter starts eating. A lot. He gets a little angry. He can’t help it. He feels betrayed. Then, to top everything off, he finds out that he is being bullied online. This is when he sets up a website and decides to eat himself to death and broadcast it for everyone to watch – if they can stand to watch it. He makes his announcement.

While he isn’t really sure what he was expecting the outcome of his announcement to actually be, Butter cannot believe what happens after he posts his declaration: Butter becomes an overnight sensation, a sudden popular guy. For the first time, Butter is accepted. He is talked to in the hallways and invited to hang out after school and during lunch. First, he feels anger. Why isn’t someone helping me if they know I’m going to kill myself? Why are they excited? Then he feels kind of cocky about it. Heck yeah, I’m awesome. Nobody else has the guts to do what I’m about to do! Then he feels fear. Oh no! What if I can’t go through with it? Will everyone still think I’m cool? 

*******************************************************

Butter by Erin Jade Lange had me in absolute knots all the way through. KNOTS. There was so much tension throughout the book, but the tension was for different reasons at different parts of the story. I was sad for Butter at times, and then I would get so angry at him, and then I would actually pity him, and then I would cringe at the things he would do or what he would eat. I cannot imagine what I must have looked like while I was reading this one. Thank goodness there was no hidden camera documenting my reading experiences with Butter, because the world would certainly be entertained. To me, it was that gripping. I was on the edge of my seat and holding onto my Kindle with white knuckles like it would fly away from me if I loosened my grip. 

Erin Jade Lange takes on topics like obesity and gives both the perspective of the obese person and the people around the obese person, which is awesome and kind of brave, really. She takes on bullying in the same way: We get Butter’s perspective and we get the perspective of the bulliesWhy is this notable to me? Because Butter is the one telling the story. He tells us his own story so well that we can see it from his eyes as well as the eyes of those around him. That’s pretty good stuff right there.

It’s really interesting, too, that I liked this book so much without being able to connect with Butter. I mean, I am not like him at all. No, I am not stick-skinny, but I am not emotionally like him either. So I really could not get into his head and feel what he was feeling. But this author still made me feel for him and concerned for him and interested in him and what was going on in his world. I wanted him to STOP his plans and rethink things and reconsider his thoughts and get active and join some social clubs at school or DO ANYTHING to be healthy – normally if I cannot connect with a character at all in a contemporary setting, I am not really invested in them. I was invested in Butter to the point that I could feel it in my chest at times.

I’m not sure if my rambles are doing Butter by Erin Jade Lange appropriate justice. For an issue-heavy contemporary book, it is incredibly interesting and gripping. The tension I felt while I read it was just the right amount. I liked Butter as a character, which is amazing given that he is a person that I could not connect to at all – and he shows growth, which is always good. I loved seeing the varying perspectives this author put in the book even though I cringed at some of it.

Butter is a fantastic book for reading and thinking outside of the box. It gives a voice to a certain group of people, and it does it well. I recommend Butter for people that enjoy reading issue-heavy contemporary YA and people who like male leading characters.

Butter will appeal to fans of:

YA Contemporary with Issues
Male Protagonist

Standalone

Butter by Erin Jade Lange

is currently available for purchase.

**I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest opinion and review. I received no compensation for my thoughts. Thank you Bloomsbury and NetGalley!

Asheley

About Asheley

Asheley is a Southern girl. She loves Carolina blue skies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and NC craft beer. She loves all things history but prefers books over everything.

You can find her somewhere in North Carolina, daydreaming about the ocean.

Find Asheley on Litsy @intothehallofbooks!

Divider

12 responses to “My Thoughts On: Butter by Erin Jade Lange

  1. "normally if I cannot connect with a character at all in a contemporary setting, I am not really invested in them. I was invested in Butter to the point that I could feel it in my chest at times."

    Those are the best kind of books, are they not? COMPELLING reads, I LOVE them. I tried to get an eARC of this one because the premise both captivated and horrified me. I didn't get the book, but I'm still considering buying it because so far the reviews I have read have all been positive. I love issue books so I think it would be a good fit. So glad you enjoyed this one Asheley!

    • This book had me all over the place, which completely threw me for a loop considering I don't always love the issue books. But this one is relevant and written so well, plus a debut author. I'm so glad I took the chance on it.

      And I'm serious when I say I had all of the facial expressions one can possibly make while reading this one. I LOVE that about this book.

  2. Ever since I first heard of Butter, I was intrigued and looking forward to reading it. Recently, the reviews I've read have been negative and not all that great so I'm very glad to see you enjoyed it as much as you did!

    Plus, what a unique premise! There are so many books out there which are similar to one another. I often see the same premise being used again and again. I LOVE the fact that the author has taken a risk and thought outside the box. I wish more authors would be more badass and fierce and not afraid to try new things. And it's a debut – woohoo!

    Weird facial expressions? Ha! ♥

    Not only is this an amazing review but it's recaptured why I was interested to read it in the first place. Thank you.

    • The negative reviews are unfortunate. I think this is such a great thought-provoking book that presents great perspective, both sides actually, of several issues. And for me, it's a big deal because I'm working my way through these contemps, as you know!

      I'm so impressed with how this author handled this story – I mean, I just could not connect with Butter and yet I was so invested in him anyway. It isn't often that THAT happens and I think for a debut, I'm just really impressed at HOW MUCH I felt for Butter – and believe me, I felt everything (which is why I had all the facial expressions, haha).

  3. Butter sounds like such a gripping & intriguing novel. Just by reading the summary and review, I am so saddened but also so interested. I cannot wait to see what this book is all about and I definitely want to read this one now!

Have a thought? Speak your mind!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.