Friday, October 5, 2012

My take on: Butter

"A carton of eggs, an extra-large anchovy pizza, a stack of pancakes, an entire bucket of fried chicken, a package of uncooked hot dogs, one raw onion, a jar of peanut butter, an extra-large box of cookies, an entire meat loaf, a tub of ice cream, and one stick of butter." Doesn't sound very appetizing does it? But this is the proposed last meal of a very confused overweight teen boy. People call him Butter. People make fun of him constantly. His mother adores him, but often tries to comfort him with food. His father barely speaks to him. The girl of his dreams has no idea he exists. And now he can't take it anymore. He is going to do something drastic. He has a plan to end it all. New Year's Eve will be his last day on earth. Everyone can tune in at ButtersLastMeal.com and watch as he eats until his death.

Butter by Erin Jade Lange is like nothing I have ever read -- in a good way. It is very outside of the box.

Butter isn't your typical high school junior. He spends his days trying to be invisible, but it's hard to do when you weigh more than 400 pounds. But in a way, Butter is invisible. He sits alone at lunch. He often spends his days at school wondering if the girl of his dreams, Anna, will notice him. The only person at school who pays him any attention is the band teacher. Butter is a gifted sax musician, but he refuses to show it off despite pleas from the Professor. If he shares his gift for music then people really will take notice of him. They won't care about his music, all people will notice is his weight.

His home life isn't much better. His mother is dedicated to him. She wants him to lose weight, but gets offended when Butter doesn't want her fatty meals. His father is hard to read. Sometimes he seems disgusted by his son, and other times he seems to actually care. But all Butter can see in his father's eyes is disappointment. The only safe haven for Butter is his room. In his room he can belt out beautiful tunes on his saxophone. But the computer is Butter's greatest resource. Online he can be anyone. He can even be a slim, handsome, athlete -- someone even Anna can be attracted to. Anna has never seen the picture of her online boyfriend, but Butter lets her believe in a lie. Online, Anna cares about him and she cares what he thinks. At school, she could care less who Butter is.

No amount of online conversations with Anna can wipeout the humiliation Butter is subjected to by his fellow students. With ButtersLastMeal.com, his fellow students finally take notice of him. But is that a good or a bad thing? To me it was very bad. He becomes the cool kid. He becomes a "legend" around school. He finally has friends, even Anna. Is Anna's interest in him genuine? He isn't quite sure what to believe. The threat of suicide finally makes Butter visible to his fellow students. Are they really his friends? No. A real friend would try to help even if they don't think you're serious. But it's hard for Butter to know who his true friends. Butter isn't even sure he wants to commit suicide. If he goes through with it the kids will know he is serious and they truly will pity him and his family. If he doesn't go through with it, then Butter is just an attention-seeking wimp.

I did find it find it hard to believe that no one took him seriously. Not everyone is that insensitive. In times like these, you don't take a threat like that lightly. Overall, this is an engaging and fresh take on bullying. Not all bullies are created equal. In the case of Butter, bullies can sometimes disguise themselves as friends. Are you wondering if Butter goes through with it? Well you'll just have to read the book to find that out.

Rating: O.M.G.!!

Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (Bloomsbury) in exchange for an honest review.

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