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- Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
- Publication date: 9/4/2012
- Pages: 304
- Source: eARC provided by publisher via NetGalley for review
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.
My first thought when I read the synopsis was that this book sounds really disturbing. Then came the intrigue, and the nagging in the back of my head that I needed to see what makes this boy want to literally eat himself to death. Not only eat himself to death, but do it for an audience online. Oh, and of course I had to know if he would really go through with it. This book was great. It really blew away my expectations. I honestly have to say I didn't know what to expect out of it. I didn't expect a story that would keep me turning pages until I was done and I certainly didn't expect how much depth there was to it. There are many different things going on in this story and I really enjoyed it.
Butter is an obese boy in his junior year of high school. He is used to being a loner and fining solace in food, his saxophone and his chatting with his crush online. He doesn't really seem to care about how overweight he is. He has tried to lose weight, but it doesn't work, so he doesn't care to try anymore. He has specially built desks in school and sits at a bench at a long table at lunch because he is too big to fit in the regular seats. He is a really nice, funny talented guy. The few people who actually know the real him know this, but mostly he's invisible, even being so large. He is beyond being picked on. When he makes the website ButtersLastMeal.com it's totally on impulse. He doesn't really think about the repercussions of it. He's angry about a few things and just does it. Now he is suddenly popular. If he doesn't go through with the plan though, he will lose all of the supposed friendships he has gotten.
Watching as he blames everything else on his weight gain and pushes away the people who care just to impress people who could really care less about him as a person is very sad. People are all like, "Dude! he's Legendary!!" and stuff and I wanted to scream at them and tell them they are all jerks!! He is going to kill himself and they are all encouraging and enabling him. As this all goes on, he is hanging out with the cool kids, going to parties, and enjoying life despite the fact that his end is coming up soon. As it gets closer he starts to get scared. Wonder if he can really go through with it, wonder if he wants to. Through the story I was also very angry at his parents. His dad doesn't even talk to him. Like he's repulsed by him, and his mom keeps trying to feed him more "comfort foods". Not saying that it's their fault, but they could do a little more to help him instead of either totally ignoring him, or shoving food at him. They are two major extremes that only make it worse.
This story was really more than just about a fat kid trying to kill himself. The book is from Butter's POV (and it's so sad how he actually got that name, I wanted to cry during that part) so we see how he perceives himself and the others around him, but also through his interactions, we hear things in a way he may not. What he may see as friendliness isn't necessarily for the right reasons. All these people are suddenly noticing him and think he is cool just because he is a fat kid who has had enough and wants to end his life by eating. It's really super sad. As much as he feels like he fits in now, he really doesn't. Deep down he knows that. Whether he can actually go through with it or not, as soon as New Years comes these people won't be his friends anymore.
This book broke my heart. Not in a bawl my eyes out sort of way, but the lingering affect it has left. Through so much of the book I couldn't make myself feel sorry for Butter at all because he gets mad when others are treating this all like a game, but he is the one who made the site. He is the one who keeps updating it and keeps it going. It wasn't until he slowly starts to grow as a character and open up his eyes to see what is really happening around him that my heart started to ache for him. Overall this was one of those books that slowly pulls out the emotions in you without you even realizing it. It was much more than I expected it to be. 3.5 out of 5 stars.