Butter

Title: Butter
Author: Erin Jade Lange
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: September 4, 2012
Pages: 316
Genre: contemporary
Source: library
Rating: 3/5

An obese boy nicknamed “Butter” plans to eat himself to death over the internet.

butter-erin-jade-lange-hardcover-cover-art

I decided not to rate this book because I’m still not really sure how I feel about it. The storyline was certainly compelling, I can’t argue with that, but I can’t say it was necessarily all that good/enjoyable. It was well-written, but I still wouldn’t say I actually liked it.

This book was really just horrible to read. Other than his passion for music, absolutely nothing truly good happened to Butter. Watching him get closer with people who were only his friends to get in on the action and who you knew were going to drop him in the end was like watching a burning plane fall out of the sky. Watching him lie to Anna both in person and online was just as bad, because you knew it was all going to blow up in his face.

At one point, it really seemed like Butter wouldn’t go through with the internet suicide and I had a little hope for him, but as soon as Anna discovered that he was J. P. all along, my heart sank through the floor yet again. I was glad that Anna at least had the decency to call the police, and that she wasn’t as awful as the rest of the people who were watching Butter’s snuff video.

I wish that the ending could have been a little more uplifting than it was, although to be honest that’s probably how it would go in real life, too. I was happy at first that Tucker bothered to email Butter to check in, but was upset that he basically cut Butter out of his life. However, I do understand that Tucker meant to cut out the negativity from his life, not specifically Butter, but it was unfortunate that Butter fell under that category, because now Butter doesn’t really have another friend who relates to him.

I have to say I was a little confused about why Lange chose to end the book the way she did. I think it made sense to end it with Anna, because that was Butter’s one relationship that had some promise, but I’m confused why he said that she could call him Butter. They both sort of agree to start again, but then Butter/Marshall still continues to use the identity forced upon him by the people who bullied him.

I suppose one could argue that continuing to call himself “Butter” symbolizes a growing self-acceptance, but considering the despicable origin of the nickname, I disagree. Even when the story ends, he is still defining himself through his personal demons.

I guess I am glad to have read the book, as it was kind of interesting to see people’s reactions to Butter’s website, but the sociological aspects of the story weren’t enough to make me actually like it.

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