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  1. Butter by Erin Jade Lange

    Monday, 27 January 2014

    Butter by Erin Jade Lange

    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? 

    With a deft hand, E.J. Lange allows readers to identify with both the bullies and the bullied in this all-consuming look at one teen's battle with himself.


    I will start off by saying that I had mixed feelings about this book. Butter, the overweight and ostracised protagonist really managed to pull at my heartstrings. The first paragraph, in which we find out that he will eat himself to death live on camera drew me in straight away and made me want to breeze through the book in order to see the end result as quickly as possible.

    Butter is overweight and he knows it. He doesn't seem to care about what people think, more rather continues to indulge in his dangerous lifestyle. Perhaps the most interesting thing about Butter is his talent with the Saxophone and the pure passion the writer manages to convey in him every time he plays. Lonely and desperate, perhaps sick of being an outcast, Butter posts to the Internet that he is to kill himself live on air, by eating himself to death. now this alone, is enough to cause shock and slight revulsion that a 16 year old boy would hold such low regard over his own life and do something to this magnitude, purely to get the attention he so desires.

    As Butters blog grows in popularity, and so does Butter himself, he finds himself ensconced in a "friendship" circle with the popular crowd, who even go so far as to make suggestions on what he can eat, create a bucket list for the poor guy to follow before his final meal and to actively post a password on the site so that concerned people cannot report him.

    Now there were a few issues that I think needed to be addressed. First being the fact that surely some adult would have come across this site/blog and reported it? Or surely enough, had the blog spread about the school like wildfire, a teacher, counselor or even the Professor to whom Butter holds an affinity would have gotten involved. After all we are talking about a kid killing himself live on air. Surely there are deep psychological issues involved here that needed to be addressed.

    I liked the majority of the characters, though I knew straight away that the popular crowd that Butter had become a part of were see through and fake, only caught up in the excitement of Butters pact. His longtime crush, to whom he also talks to on the Internet under a fake alias, seemed to me, a bit up herself. She wasn't the kind hearted person that Butter made her out to be, in fact, to me she seemed quite selfish and judgemental.

    I think the book itself was an original piece of literature, a masterpiece in its own right. It's background message was the difficulty of being a teenager within todays society and just trying to fit in. I found myself really getting involved in the story, despite the dark theme. As Butter hurtled towards his final deadline, I found myself, crying, laughing and actually gasping out loud at moments. I could really feel Butters pain and just wanted to reach through the page and give him a hug. Other times I wanted to scream at him, to tell him that he was naive to think that these people weren't really his friends, and were just interested in the sick deadline and whether he would actually do it.

    I guess reading this book is much like watching a car crash, you're repulsed by what you see, but you can't help but to slow down and watch the scene unfold. This is how the book felt to me. By the end, I was gripping the book, waiting to see if Butter would really die. The only thing I would say is that towards the end, when Butter is in the hospital, I felt that it ended too quickly.

    He is in hospital after an attempted suicide, which in itself would hold serious psychological consequence. For me, things were tied up too easily, there was no real talk of any help for Butter and I felt loosely, that some ends were left untied.

    All in all, I found this book a greatly enjoyable read. Its originality shone through and the beautiful prose of the author only added to the sheer qualiity of the book as a whole. Couldn't recommend it highly enough!


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