Friday, September 21, 2012

Butter ~ Erin Jade Lange (earc) review

September 4, 2012
316 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

"I didn't fit in [...] The only thing that ever really fit was food . . . inside me. And the more food I fit in me, the less I fit anywhere else." -pg 132 Butter (advance edition; will verify quote as soon as possible)
At 423 pounds, Butter doesn't seem to fit in anywhere, literally or figuratively. It's nothing new, the weight or the lack of friends, but after several things happen in quick succession, Butter minds it. Playing saxophone in his room and talking to the girl online who can't see what he looks like are no longer enough, he has a plan.
With just a few clicks it's ready to go: in only a few weeks time, Butter's going to eat himself to death on the internet. And anyone who wants, specifically his classmates at school, can watch.

Their response to his site is unexpected. He knew they weren't his friends (he didn't christen himself 'Butter,' after all), but he never expected their reaction: they love it. Suddenly Butter's part of their select group, all while they exalt his plan, his coming demise.

Are they now his friends? Do they secretly want what's best for Butter or s he - and his death - some sort of twisted game to them? And what of Anna, his online love, who's now a very real acquaintance, can and should he keep the two relationships separate?

What happens when he reaches the deadline?

Butter is a fantastic read.

We know from the first page that Butter plans to kill himself, to eat himself to death. We also know that it's directed at someone, "You think I eat a lot now?" (pg 2) Granted, that could be a rhetorical question but it feels directed at someone and, being the first words of the first chapter, they're very evocative.

The secondary characters in Butter are confusing, as part of the story. Their actions leave you incredibly disgusted with them, wondering how someone could possibly, possibly be doing what they're doing (pretty much egging on someone's suicide). Yet, then you're left to wonder if maybe they're employing some sort of reverse psychology and actually are hoping for the best . . . only to then wonder if they're even capable of that.

They're all great characters, even when - or perhaps especially when - you hate them, who add so much to the story. Butter wouldn't be possible without the stellar secondary characters and the way they all intertwine.

Butter himself is brilliant. He's a complex character who's dealing with the different challenges presented by his weight, from the health risks to where to even park at school and sit in the cafeteria, but he's also a teenager who's having trouble fitting in.  Lange did a great job with Butter, he wasn't just an obese teen where the focus was on whether he lost weight or not and he didn't simply have social/popularity issues, both were very present, and combined.

His personality and voice stayed consistent, even when I wished it would change just for a little but to allow him to see some things. The progression in his character was very well done and paced well. He was just about perfect because he wasn't perfect

For the great description there was of Butter's personality, I do wish there had been a bit more of a physical description. I didn't have trouble picturing Anna, understandable as it's in the first person and told by Butter, but didn't get a good image of Butter.

Butter has a great teenage voice. The teenagers, from Butter to Anna to the others, sounded like high-schoolers with high school problems and reactions.

Rating: 8/10

You Might Enjoy this Book if You Like: the authors Courtney Summers and/or Hannah Moskowitz

egalley received from Bloomsbury through NetGalley


  1. I really enjoyed this one too! I was so disgusted with the actions of the people at the school too. My only complaint for this one was I didn't feel that the characters acted as if they were in high school, I kept getting a middle school vibe. I'm happy you enjoyed it as much as I did!

    1. I'm really happy I read this one. It wasn't one I was sure I wanted to read at first but I'm so glad I did. I may have been reading more YA where I think the HS'ers act too old so in Butter they felt age appropriate . . . or I currently have an off view of HS? :s

  2. There are some characters one simply loves to hate and the secondary characters in Butter sound exactly like that. This isn't a book I would normally pick up, but you made it sound too good to miss.
    Wonderful review!

    1. I wasn't sure at first that I wanted to read it, but I'm really glad I did. The characters, the tension (of what's ultimately going to happen) really make it a great read.

      And it does have some characters that are great to hate - so much so that you have to wonder if they're really that bad.

      Thank you :)

  3. This sounds like a good book. A sad book, but good. I think that a lot of teenagers, faced with having the ability to watch someone eat themselves to death, would probably react poorly. Rooting the person on and such. Teenagers don't always use common sense and probably just think it was funny, never realizing what it really meant.

    1. I think they might, too. It's not to the same extent, but the book reminded me of this real thing I'd heard a while before:
      "In her quest to become the world's fattest woman, Donna Simpson is already profiting from her challenge - by earning $90,000 (£55,000) a year from fans who pay to watch her eat online."

      It wasn't 'to death,' of course . . . and I think Butter did a great job of having Butter's classmates react not only how he didn't expect but how the reader didn't expect. Yet, it was a way that ultimately made sense and worked extremely well (for logic and the book).

  4. Hm.. I wasn't sure about this book but I'll definitely check it out now. Even though it still creeps me out A LOT!

    Krazyyme @ Young Readers

    1. It's absolutely worth a read - one that I wasn't sure about at first, to be sure, but one I'm really glad I read. It has a lot more depth than I anticipated and I liked it so much :)

  5. Great review, it sounds awful but insightful into how compelling we find actions that disgust us too. The actions of some of the side characters, their callous fascination...yes, I think I'll have to read this one too. Thanks for sharing.

    1. It really is fascinating. I appreciated that they were characters whose actions/reactions were great to hate - but at the same time they weren't one dimensional so you were left wondering if maybe, just maybe they weren't so disgusting. They're really some great characters in Butter. Thank you -and thanks for commenting.


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