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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.

294 pages, Hardcover

First published September 4, 2012

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About the author

Erin Jade Lange

6 books299 followers
ERIN JADE LANGE is the author of 5 novels for young adults, including the upcoming, Mere Mortals. Erin is the winner of the Friedolin Youth Book Prize in Germany and the Sakura Medal in Japan. She has also been nominated for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize (twice), the German Children’s Literature Award and multiple state book awards. Her debut novel, Butter, was a 2013 Teens’ Top Ten Pick, and her books have appeared on several state reading lists. Erin is a recovering journalist and a lover of books. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

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5 stars
2,357 (23%)
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3 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,471 reviews
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,394 reviews7,264 followers
April 19, 2017
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

I read Butter over two weeks ago, but never got around to writing a review pretty much because I didn’t want to get trolled. In case you aren’t already aware . . . .

After all the backlash the original blurb (not the book itself, because everyone decided to get asshurt before the damn thing was even released so they could read it) for Holding Up the Universe, I was more than a little scurrrrred to share all of my thoughts about this book. Really, though, I should have nothing to worry about. After all, I’m giving it 4 Stars FFS.

Let’s get on with things. This is the story of a boy called Butter. (I’ll let him tell you how he got that moniker.) . . . .

After binge-eating himself to 423 pounds, being required to sit at a special table in the back of all of his classrooms, developing diabetes and isolating himself from ever interacting with other students as much as possible, Butter has ceased being the butt of the joke and instead has become someone who believes that . . . .

“I was just that pathetic – that pitiful. Most people couldn’t bring themselves to be cruel to me . . . . at least, not anymore.”

He also has come to the realization that . . . .

“I hated thinking about death – not because I was afraid of it, but because, for some reason, every time I did, I felt this strange wave of sadness that death was actually so far off. Sometimes I wished it would just hurry up and get here.”

Thinking he has nothing left to live for, he starts a website entitled ButtersLastMeal.com where he explains that on New Year’s Eve he will commit suicide by . . . . .

I know what you’re thinking: “eating yourself to death in one sitting isn’t possible.” Normally you’d be correct, but with a combination of a deadly overdose of insulin at his disposal as well as food allergies that could potentially kill him, Butter is not kidding around. The only thing he’s not sure of is . . . .

“What was I expecting from this? Pity? Attention? Would it have some dramatic impact? Or would I just come off as some pathetic crybaby?”

That’s how this book earns so many stars from me. Another choice from the 13 Underrated Novels You Must Read Immediately list, once again this selection scores points for being unique. It gets bonus points by having a main character like Butter who (although thankfully not nearly as awful as Hannah in Thirteen Reasons Why) was not someone you could easily sympathize with. Although he was a victim of bullying, Butter took every opportunity for personal growth and flushed it right down the toilet. Instead of seeking deeper relationships with friends he had made at fat camp over summer breaks, Butter chose to Catfish a fellow student he had a crush on and ignore that his newfound “popularity” was anything other than superficial. The good news is, not everyone pussyfooted around Butter’s feelings . . . .

“Everything doesn’t suck, Butter. All that sucks is your attitude. If you just stop expecting perfection from everyone and everything, you might see the good stuff outweighs the bad. And then maybe someday you’ll look in the mirror and see the same thing. Because the person you’re most disappointed in is yourself.”

And it was nice to know I wasn’t the only one who wanted to smack him around a little bit. But I really wanted to smack his mother. Good Christ I’ve never read such an enabler!

This was a solid YA selection that I would easily recommend. The “will he or won’t he” aspect to the story was gripping, the “blame” (for lack of a better term) of the 423 pound situation was placed on the person who allowed himself to get that way rather than on anyone else (while definitely not giving a pass to the douchebags who treated Butter so horribly), the being called out for the so-not-okayness of creating a fake online persona, etc. all kept the pages turning and provided some valuable insight into the do's and don’ts of navigating the way to adulthood.
Profile Image for Stacia (the 2010 club).
1,045 reviews3,935 followers
March 12, 2013
You think I eat a lot now? That's nothing. Tune in December 31st, when I will stream a live webcast of my last meal. I can't take another year in this fat suit, but I can end this year with a bang. If you can stomach it, you're invited to watch...as I eat myself to death.

- Butter

This is the opening paragraph. If that isn't enough to catch someone's attention, then I don't know what else would.

Before I picked this book up, I was a little nervous. I've tried to read books which dealt with similar issues (Bed, By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead being only but a couple I can recall) and none of them worked for me. It's got to be tough to write about a subject like this while managing to keep it both interesting and relevant. How is it possible without going too over-the-top?

For the most part, I think Butter succeeded in showcasing the life of a young man who had lost (or maybe never even had) the things that most people rely on to help themselves feel like normal, functioning beings. Butter had me in its greasy little clutches from page 1. I zipped through it in less than a day. The story itself wasn't merely a placeholder for the main event. A lot happened in the time before the clock ticked down to the "will he or won't he?" situation.

What probably disturbed me the most was the amount of apathy this kid Butter got from strangers out in the internet world. As much as I'd like to believe that someone would have tried to step in to help a person who put themselves in this predicament, we all know of individualized real-life situations where terrible circumstances have happened in a group setting (murders, rapes, etc.) and the mentality has been to go with the herd and not make waves. I'd like to believe that the majority of the time, someone would step in and try to talk a person off a ledge, but there are these rare cases where no one does. And the coldness of it all was what really hurt my heart and moved me to tears.
"Only a guy with an ass as fat as yours could eat all that in one sitting."

"This guy is full of shit. You can't eat yourself to death."

"You're so stupid for trying this. I hope you do die-"

I'm glad that I read this book because the story is one I won't likely forget. In fact, there wasn't anything big which stands out for me as a dislike. The reason I didn't go higher on the rating is because Butter himself didn't always come across as genuine, and his crush Anna seemed very cardboard (neither one of them were very interesting characters). However, the overall book itself is worth the read. Stories like this and others such as Hate List are ones which schools would benefit from making required reading. Actually, I think stories like these are just good to remind us all, regardless of age, that compassion is much-needed in this world.
Look, I get it. It sucks to be next to the fat guy on the plane. Maybe he's taking up too much of your armrest or crowding you into the window, but trust me, nobody's more uncomfortable than that guy, having to squish into that tiny seat and knowing nobody wants to sit next to him.
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
903 reviews13.7k followers
November 7, 2022
tw - disordered eating, fatphobia

this is the most violently fatphobic book i've read in my entire life--up until I DNFed it 90 pages in. skinny author writes about a 400-lb teenager determined to kill himself by eating himself to death because he's so hungry and can't lose the weight and everyone makes fun of him and he thinks he's a burden to his family and he'll never get the girl he has a crush on, so that's clearly the only solution, right?

i picked up this book because i thought it would be a think piece on the internet being detrimental to mental health but instead was berated with gratuitous imagery of the author shoving in your face how gross and depressed and mean fat people are. i almost wanted to push through to the end just to see where she goes with that but it was so over the top and disgusting that i don't even want to waste one more second on it.

this author should be ashamed, holy shit.
Profile Image for ash.
377 reviews11 followers
January 9, 2015
1. I didn't realize this was a young adult novel when I bought it, so I was actually expecting a grossly morbid story devoid of plot and morality, which I was looking forward to. When I realized it was a young adult novel, I knew I was in for something moralistic and terrible. My fault, obviously.

2. I cannot imagine that Erin Jade Lange has ever been fat, known a fat person, or even seen a person who actually weighed 423 pounds.

3. The writing was flat, boring, and sloppy. Sometimes getting through a single sentence was tedious agony.

4. This book doesn't hate fat people, but it does think the world would be a better place if we all went to a fat institute and withered ourselves away.

5. Butter's your typical internet Nice Guy. He IS creepy and Anna's incredibly valid points about his behavior are not adequately acknowledged.

It was just... very not good.

Profile Image for Marta Álvarez.
Author 17 books5,756 followers
February 27, 2018
Un tono sorprendentemente ácido para el tema que trata. Uno esperaría otra Hazel Grace, pero Butter es diferente. Tiene un humor inquietante, y la autora ha sabido narrarnos su psicología de modo que el lector llegue a comprender a Butter antes de que él se comprenda a sí mismo, pero sin que resulte por ello un personaje cargante o poco inteligente.
Creo que la definición que Andrea Tomé da en la contraportada es la mejor forma de explicar Butter: morbosamente adictivo. Desde luego, sería despreciable que los nuevos amigos de Butter solo hubieran decidido relacionarse con él para disfrutar del morboso enigma de no saber si acabará suicidándose... Pero, al final, los lectores estamos igual de enganchados a ese mismo interrogante.
Profile Image for Hannah.
499 reviews
June 25, 2014
I'm going to be honest here. I struggle a lot with sizeism. Even though I've learned, rationally, that size and health are not directly related, and that overeating is an eating disorder like any other, I still struggle. The idea that thin equals healthy, and that fat people are lazy and just need to stop eating so much and just try to be healthy were instilled in me so much while growing up that it's really hard to let go of them. I'll know that my thoughts are really mean and problematic, but I just can't turn that inner voice off, telling me that obesity is the obese person's fault.

So my attitude meant that Butter and I didn't connect right away - in the beginning, I'll admit I was a little grossed out by how much he eats and by how he insists that it's not his fault. But after a while, he grew on me. As the story progresses, we get to see behind the facade, to read about his insecurities and all his troubles, and those did make me feel for him. It was eye-opening to see how every single aspect of his life is affected by his weight. His character growth is tremendous, and towards the end, I really grew to love Butter. Butter is a great character; so much more than what he seems to be. I just wish we'd gotten to know some more about his past, about how he turned into this 400-pound kid.

But even if I hadn't connected with Butter, I would have kept reading, because the concept makes this book impossible to put down. The whole idea is morbid and disgusting and just wrong - and completely intriguing. I was disgusted and horriefied, but I couldn't stop reading; I needed to know whether Butter would actually go through with it. There's an underlying sense of tension and fear of what Butter will do, the knowledge that there is no way this could end happily, that had me on the edge of my seat throughout.

I love the secondary characters. With one exception, none of them are black and white. They all make mistakes and none of them are really innocent in this whole thing, but you could always see where they're coming from. Even the characters I would have loved to hate, I couldn't, because you could see that they're not terrible people; they just make some bad decisions.

I'm not the best to judge, but I do think Erin Jade Lange handled the difficult topic of child obesity with great tact and grace. Her portrayal felt very honest and real, and I love how it never got preachy. There are so many ways this book could have preached about obesity or about bullying, but it doesn't - it just tells a story. I wasn't a huge fan of the ending - a little too happy for my taste - but in a way, I get it, because a darker, more pessimistic ending would have been really hard to take.

Butter is, at times, horrifying and, quite frankly, disgusting. (Seriously, the scene describing how Butter got his name made me want to never eat again.) But it also tells a hopeful, honest, beautiful story. There are scenes that'll break your heart, and there are scenes that'll put a smile on your face. It's not an easy book to read, but I highly recommend it.

Reviewed at http://www.paperbacktreasures.blogspo...
Profile Image for Sarah Churchill.
468 reviews1,179 followers
November 26, 2014
Fantastic. A sort of dark comedy that gives insight into another form of bullying - that of the 'friends' who use and abuse, which the victim ignores because they just want to be accepted and have friends.

The whole premise of this book is so dark and disturbing that it's difficult to explain how normal it seems while reading, and how caught up you get in Butter's predicament. The scene where Butter earns his nickname is one of the most shocking scenes of the book, but also a very important one for many reasons, and I love the fact that we don't discover his real name until the very end. That's a nice touch.

I read this as part of the Anti Bullying Week Readathon 2014, and recommend it as a tool for learning about acceptance, understanding and most of all the effect of our actions, whoever we are and however we fit into another person's story.
Profile Image for Thomas.
1,402 reviews8,124 followers
December 21, 2012
Here's my preface: I know some people are naturally heavier than others. I'm aware that some people have medical issues. I know, as cliche as it sounds, that what's on the inside matters much more than what's on the outside.

But Butter was just so frustrating. I don't want to sound insensitive or make it seem like I'm a jerk who hates obese people, but this book had me on the edge. The main character, at 423 pounds, would eat to upset his mom and would fail to take responsibility for his actions - even when he was aware that what he was thinking was wrong. He possessed a propensity for thinking shallow things that would set me off. Here's an example:

So it was just me, a pile of dirty dishes, and a dining table covered in crumbs and splattered juice. The suddenly nauseating smell of pot roast overwhelmed me. I fought the urge to puke. That's right. I fought it. I was a binge eater, not a bulimic. That sh*t is for girls.

Not cool. However, Erin Jade Lange did develop Butter and make him more relatable by revealing the bullying and taunting he had experienced. Unfortunately, this didn't compensate for the cast of one-sided characters and Butter's lack of logic. I didn't dislike Butter for his inability to overcome his weight issue; I disliked how he handled his issue through his dangerous and reckless actions.

I'll give Erin Jade Lange points for crafting a complexly simple book. There's no clear message - which is a positive and a negative - and I never really understood Butter, but still felt somewhat sorry for him. We all should know by now that bullying is wrong and making fun of other people because of their appearances is also wrong. Erin Jade Lange tackles these topics in a way that is on one hand annoying, on the other hand, thought-provoking.

*review cross-posted on my blog, the quiet voice.
Profile Image for Lizy.
764 reviews21 followers
August 4, 2016
I've been dying to read this book ever since I saw it recommended to me on Goodreads a few months ago. It has all of these things I thought would be interesting to read about: a 400+ lb main character, binge eating, a threat of suicide, people cheering on unhealthy habits. To be a little bit TMI, as someone who's dabbled in NSFW commissioned writing, binge eating / weight gain has been one of the topics I've had to write about. So I *had* to read this book. I had to see how it could be covered in a way that would be publishable--because lord knows I would personally never publish what I've had commissioned, and I can't imagine the other stories in that genre being on the shelves in my public library (which is where I got my hands on this book).

And Butter (the book, not the main character) starts out as this screaming shout out to anyone who knows about feederism. Like, page two, there's the binge scene with the obese main character and the crumbs in the couch, the candy bar wrappers, the potato chips and m&ms. You're sitting there, if you're part of the community, and you're like 'oh shit what level of hell am I going to? is this really going to take this where I think it's going? Is it really gonna drag all this shit out into the limelight that none of us want to be in?'

The answer, thankfully (or not-so-thankfully, if you're into that sort of stuff), is no. After that initial scene, Lange does a really good job of making sure this book is NOT written for the feederism community to fap behind. It is not about binging and weight gain as a fetish and it's not gonna get anybody off and you aren't going to be uncomfortably wondering if you're gonna go to hell or not.

And honestly, I thought this book was fantastically written, except for a giant red flag, which I'll get to in a bit. The pace was fantastic, the humor on point, the characters very real. Lange does an amazing job with making you understand everything that Butter's going through, what teen drama is like, and honestly, what it's like being overweight. All of that is perfectly captured.

THAT SAID, Lange apparently thought it'd be a great idea not to do a google search on diabetes before she decided to write about a character who it. And it's not just once instance--it's the entire way she treats diabetes. As someone who's fresh off from learning about diabetes in nursing school and as someone with a long family history of diabetes on both sides, I was appalled at the utter lack of knowledge regarding it. I feel like it's important to tackle this, so I'm just going to rant for a bit.

The first thing to bother me regarding the diabetes research was that Butter, who plays saxophone and virtually only plays the blues, has never, ever, EVER heard of B.B King. Ever. The king of the blues just doesn't exist. Never mind that BB literally made ads to promote diabetes awareness and is basically the unofficial face of type 2 diabetes. Let's just ignore that BB King would go play shows on stage and sit the entire time--and I know this because I saw him do it. I was at the Indy Jazz Fest in like 2001, 2002, something like that, and I distinctly remember that he was sitting when the show started and he stayed sitting even when it ended. But in this book, apparently playing a musical instrument while sitting has never happened and is physically impossible. Obviously if you're overweight, well, you just can't play blues. No heroes for you, Butter.

But it gets worse. And I understand that Butter and his family clearly are not the best at adhering to a general diabetic diet, but OH MY GOD DO YOUR FUCKING RESEARCH. Butter, who probably has constant hyperglycemia from his diet, randomly starts skipping entire meals but never becomes hypoglycemic? He goes like 4 days without eating ANY carbs and doesn't go into ketoacidosis? They only check is blood sugar ONCE in the entire book????? In the real world, you literally have to check it 3 times a day. 3 times. But he never goes to the nurse before lunch to get that checked, or to take insulin before binging on his lunch.

There's also the part where his doctor tells him to do exactly what he shouldn't do: eat more carbs. See, carbs are sugar. Carbs cause hyperglycemia, which is clearly Butter's problem. Yes, you need like 40% of your diet to be carbs if you're diabetic, but what you really need to focus more on is fiber and proteins and fats. He could have at least specified complex carbs, but nope, apparently empty calories are a-okay in this household.

So when Butter finally DOES go into hypoglycemia (because hyperglycemia doesn't exist inside this book, which I'll get to), his only symptom is shaking hands and possibly irritability--which he doesn't actually explain, I'm just putting it there as a benefit of the doubt. In the real world, the "big three" of diabetic symptoms - which is pretty common knowledge - is sweating, thirst, and confusion. As it gets worse, you lose the ability to see and move. It's like getting really drunk. Then you go into a coma, and then you can die. In this book, there's a part where Butter becomes hypoglycemic while driving, right? I can tell you from my mother's experience that if you become hypoglycemic while driving, you will wreck your car. Ask her 2001 Cavalier if you don't believe me. But in this book, even having the fat guy sweat is apparently just too much for the reader. Can't have him suddenly drinking a lot of water. No time for swerving in and out of the lane. He can't even have sweaty palms, that'd be too fucking accurate. Handshaking is PG enough.

And the biggest red flag of all was the 100% complete lack of knowledge about hyperglycemia. Did you know that the majority of diabetics end up being hyperglycemic instead of hypoglycemic? Because Lange fucking doesn't. According to Lange's information if you're diabetic and you eat a 5 pound bag of sugar you'll just get a little fatter. In the real world, you will LITERALLY DIE. Your blood sugar will turn to syrup. I don't know what part of the body would shut down first but you would shut down - just like with hypoglycemia - and, fun fact, it's a lot harder to cure hyperglycemia than hypoglycemia. But in the book, of course, Butter has to cut all the sugar out and take insulin, because he's immune to glucose.

And one last misinformation before I stop ranting, when Butter decides to cut sugar. Ok. So. All food. Everything you eat. If it's potato chips, if it's a bowl of m&ms, if it's Kobe beef, if it's mac n cheese, kale salad, literally anything. For the body to use it, it gets converted into glucose. Maybe you get some amino acids and some omega 3 fatty acids and other stuff thrown in there, but mainly what you eat gets broken down and broken into sugar. So to OD on insulin while binging on food - even if it's not sweets - literally counteracts itself. That's not how it works. And I think Lange realized this, because in the scene she made it sound mostly like anaphylactic shock, But I'm banking onthe fact that it might have been because she didn't do any fucking research on diabetes to begin with.

And one final, FINAL thing. This part includes a spoiler. Within a month, Butter loses 51 pounds. According to the book, his old clothes are still snug and his belt only moves one space. That's 12 and 3/4 pounds a week. I can honestly tell you that despite what Biggest Loser tells you, that is unhealthy, and coupled with the little exercise he's doing, that's impossible. With his diabetes, he would unquestionably have been in the hospital. His old clothes definitely would have fit, and he definitely would have noticed his new size.

Rant (finally) ended.

So as much as I wanted to make this a 5 star book, I can't. And I wanted to. I was on page 2 like 'here's my 5 stars, take it.' On page 60 I was wondering if I could just prematurely review the book with 5 stars.

But it's so inaccurate, medically-speaking, and the more I thought about it, the more it bothered me. And I started thinking about the intended audience more and more. In my library, Butter is in the YA section. That means teens are - theoretically - reading it. And the book kind of targets obese teens, either ones who have diabetes or who may be at risk for it. And this book goes out of its way to be inaccurate in portraying what it's like to be diabetic. My mom's had diabetes since before I was born and I can tell you right now there is NEVER a skipped meal. All carbs are counted. Blood sugar testing and insulin administration is like an additional pre-dinner prayer. Glucose tablets and pineapple juice are always on hand. A bagel with cream cheese has enough carbs to throw my mom's blood sugars off for a full day. Everything is counted and recorded and measured. That's what diabetes is really like. And I can't just sit back and ignore that this book, which tries SO HARD to give an accurate view of what it's like to be big, plays diabetes off like it's just a side thing. It's not a side thing. It controls your life. And I think that when you're putting this book into the hands of teens who may have these problems, brushing off health issues is a really bad idea. Having a doctor give advice that's contraindicated for a person's condition isn't a good idea. Pretending that entire aspects of the disease you're writing about don't exist - aspects that your character sets off in at least 4 different places through the book - is, honestly, unethical, in my opinion.

So I can't justify giving this book a positive rating. In fact, I'm going to have to change my rating from 3 stars to 1, because there's no excuse for the lack of knowledge. I read the "about the author." Lange is a journalist. Journalists know to do their research. She should know better, and shame on her for not. Shame on her, shame on her editor and copy-editor, and shame on the publisher. Recall this book, edit it to make sense, and publish it again, because it deserved 5 stars.
Profile Image for Kelly.
Author 6 books1,205 followers
September 18, 2012

Butter's a fat kid. That's something no one would argue with and something he himself identifies with. But he's so alone, and he's sad about being alone. He hates knowing what it is that keeps him alone is that number. Over the last few months, he's made good friends with Anna online -- Anna goes to his school, fits in with the in crowd, and has absolutely no idea the boy she talks to online (who goes by the name JP) is really Butter.

Then one day, Butter decides he's going to stand up for himself. He's going to eat himself to death. Online. So everyone can watch. When word gets around about this, Butter finds himself suddenly in with the popular group. But only because they aren't sure he'll actually do it. And hell, Butter doesn't know if he'll do it either.

Until he's utterly hurt by Anna. That's when he decides what his plan of action will be.

Butter had a fantastic voice, and this was one of the rare instances where I felt like the tackling of a weight issue in a YA book was handled well. Butter knew who he was and he wasn't necessarily ashamed of it. I felt Butter's emotional highs and lows throughout.

But he is so far from perfect. In fact, no one in this book is cut and dry. They're all shades of good and bad. Butter has his moments of being a real great, sympathetic character, but then he has his moments of being a real jerk. His new-found friends, who are stereotypical "cool kids," aren't necessarily horrible people. They definitely mistreat him, but at the same time, they're sort of necessary for Butter's development in a way he doesn't always understand. The adults in this book are imperfect, too.

What didn't quite work for me was that at times, it felt a little too message-driven. Online bullying is bad, and it's bad to hate yourself and consider suicide your only way out or your only way of getting attention or proving yourself to other people. It's bad to misrepresent yourself and it's bad to hurt other people. Had some of this been cut back a little bit, I think the message would have come out stronger via the story itself.

Lange's writing is great, and she nails the male voice well. The premise and execution work with the characters. This'll appeal to both girl and guy readers who like realistic stories. It is relevant.

Full review here: http://www.stackedbooks.org/2012/09/b...
Profile Image for Craig MacLachlan.
Author 4 books101 followers
July 24, 2012
Erin Jade Lange has written an astounding, heart provoking, wonderful novel, BUTTER. I read BUTTER in two days and couldn't put it down. The writing is crisp and clean along with the characterization and Erin Lange immersed me into the story so well that at times I forgot I was reading a book!

One of my all time favorite books is WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS. BUTTER deals with real life issues just like in WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS, though on a totally different scale and I now place BUTTER alongside it as a favorite read in that genre style of storytelling.

If you've read BUTTER, spread the word, if you haven't, read it!
Profile Image for Lorenna.
110 reviews34 followers
January 14, 2018
4’5/5 Una novela agridulce que te atrapa hasta el final.
Profile Image for Matt.
295 reviews3 followers
May 16, 2013
When lonely outcast 16-year old Butter decides to post a website proclaiming a countdown to his New Years Eve event: "Butter's Last Meal" where he plans to eat himself to death live, he finds that his popularity explodes. Suddenly, the 432-pound Butter finds himself inside of the cool crowd, buds with the jocks, invited to all the parties, and - for the first time - Butter finds he has friends, and the girl of his dreams doesn't seem so unattainable.

But as time goes on the the clock counts down to his Last Meal, Butter realizes that maybe his "friends" aren't real friends at all, and that he might just be in over his head.

Wow, this book turned out to be a total shocker.

If you were thinking that a book about a kid eating himself to death and live-streaming it would be stupid, you were right; good catch. Probably one you can judge by the description.

But Butter (the book, not the kid) surprised me. It's a deceptively insightful book into the mindset of the obese, and what comes with it - the looks, the stares, the fight to lose weight, the retreat into food for comfort, their enablers - all of it.

It's also an interesting look into the demon-spawn hell-child that is High School, especially what it means for someone like Butter. The maliciousness of stupid teenagers knows no depth.

Anyway, very worth a read.

Rating: 4.7
Profile Image for Nieves Villalón.
359 reviews25 followers
April 16, 2020
Un libro muy, MUY, necesario. Tenemos que recapacitar sobre lo que estamos haciendo con nuestra sociedad, porque vamos en picado.

No sé si con la literatura conseguiremos algo, pero deberíamos reflexionar sobre cómo podemos ser tan crueles, activa o pasivamente, para llegar al punto de que una persona se quiera suicidar POR NUESTRA CULPA. En serio, pensadlo.

Es un libro duro, que hace mella, pero leedlo. Leedlo y haced un examen de conciencia, que nunca viene mal.
37 reviews1 follower
April 20, 2020
WARNING: THIS REVIEW DISCUSSES SUICIDE. If you’re having suicidal thoughts or ideation, reach out to someone. It can be anyone you trust: a teacher, a parent, a summer counselor, a coworker, a friend, a sibling, or another loved one. If they don’t listen or don’t respond well, DO NOT GIVE UP. Find someone else to talk to. If that doesn’t work, here’s the number for the NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE:


I haven’t used this resource before, but I have used a region-specific suicide prevention resource before. It didn’t fix everything, but it got me started down the road to getting help. Taking that first step and fighting those thoughts and feelings is hard: take it from the human who struggles with suicidal thoughts and ideation almost daily. You can get help. Reaching out to friends and loved ones was helpful for me, but it turns out I needed more help; I’m seeing both a therapist and a psychiatrist now. I’m still self-conscious about it honestly. Am I better? Yes. Am I fixed? No. And that’s okay. As with all things, dealing with suicidal thoughts and ideation is a journey; no straight lines to recovery here. But it’s okay to need help. Just stay alive, beautiful being. Okay?

@JL turns out, this wasn't better than Jurassic Park

Now, let’s talk about a boy called Butter.

This book has a really fascinating premise that I was instantly intrigued by: an obese 16-year-old is fed up and tired of it, so he makes a website: butterslastmeal.com, where he says he’s going to eat himself to death on a livestream. But instead of answering the cry for help like kind, loving human beings, his high school cheers him on (is that really what brick-and-mortar public high school is like? I was in online school for most of my pre-university education, so I have no idea).

I really wanted this book to be good. I really did. But it was just… not good.

I liked Butter. He’s great! I related to him a lot and liked that he wasn’t entirely worthy of me feeling sorry for him; I did feel sorry for him, because his situation at school sucked, but he also had a bad mindset about it. So he felt… real, in that sense. Like more nuanced than just “I’m just that misunderstood kid and if anyone really got to know me I’d be the popular one.” He was misunderstood, but he also judged people about judging him, if that makes sense? Needless to say, I liked him. Butter is real.

I felt very connected to Butter. As I mentioned before, I fight suicidal thoughts on the regular, so I was rooting for Butter to not off himself with every page, and as the date for the livestream grew nearer and nearer, my heart pounded and my hands shook slightly. I so badly wanted Butter to live; his reasons and mine for suicidal thoughts are vastly different, but I met a fellow traveler on the same road.

But towards the end of the book, things started to feel a little… dangerous. I’ve more or less found good coping techniques to fight my mind when it comes to thinking about suicide, but I had to set the book down and mentally walk away at times because that way he was talking about his suicide felt cathartic almost. And every time I did that, I was worried that someone somewhere who has less effective coping techniques might be affected by this (That risk is constant whenever someone writes about suicide, so that’s no fault of the author in my opinion).

When the night of the livestream came, the author does a pretty good job of building tension: Butter says good-byes, he makes apologies, he cries. I felt so tense when reading about that night that I had to set the book down more than once to calm down before continuing.

I rate this so low because I don’t think this book was a good or healthy way to depict suicide. I will admit that I have very high standards for how suicide is depicted in stories: This isn’t a topic anyone should fuck around with lightly in books or any other story-telling format. And I don’t think the author did a particularly good job handling this issue.

I’d like to also say that everyone’s experience with suicide is different; my experience was different from Butter’s, and yours might be different than mine and more like Butter’s. That’s how suicide is; its very individual, with some recurring and similar themes across individuals who struggle with it. But overall, I’m unhappy with how this suicide tale went.

In retrospect, I don’t think I should have read this book. It triggered me a more than a few times, but I kept at it because I’m not the type of person to leave a book unfinished. That was stupid of me. The mindset that “I’m strong enough to handle this alone” is not helpful when dealing with such an intense issue as suicide. I was a dumbass for reading this alone. The next time I read a book about suicide (my sights are set on 13 Reasons Why because I want my own informed opinion), I’ll only do it if I read it with someone else to discuss thoughts with so I’m not in it alone. I might not even read it, which I hate to think because I love reading. But I gotta make sure my mental state is ready for that. I tell you this not to put myself in the spotlight, but to show you that I’m not fixed; I’m imperfect and struggling, and I want to share my struggle if it might help someone who’s in a similar spot.

As I close, I’d like to reiterate; you can get help. It’s not easy, but you can do it. Just start asking. And keep asking until you get it. I believe in you.


Stay safe, beautiful beings.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Steph Su.
943 reviews452 followers
December 2, 2012
Oh, but this book had so much potential! Unfortunately, BUTTER’s casual treatment of its characters’ actions and motivations lessened the quality of what could have been a thought-provoking YA contemporary novel on the highly relevant issues of bullying, obesity, and body image.

The main character, Butter, is a likable guy. Any reader, male or female, who has experienced adolescent insecurities in any form will want to reach out to him, to let him know that he is not alone. Deep down he really is a gentle soul with a heart of gold, one who has unfortunately been the victim of a narrow-minded and apathetic society.

Unfortunately, reader sympathy or empathy for the main character is not enough to pull the story out of the quagmire of shallowness that is BUTTER. The characters in this book are actors playing out the roles assigned to them: concerned but clueless mother, “bromantic” popular guys at school, etc. The dialogue in this book has the hollow ring of artificiality with its high school stereotypes, and this overreliance on stock characters leads to BUTTER’s biggest problem: the unbelievability of events as natural offshoots of characters’ motivations.

Take, for instance, Butter’s newfound popularity in the wake of his announcement that he is going to commit suicide by overeating. I totally get how society would make people who make outrageous statements or do outrageous things famous—or, more likely, infamous. We latch onto celebrity gossip as if we’d die if we don’t know who’s dating who or what hijinks the latest child star-turned-rehab fixture has gotten into. But as much as we’ll read about their exploits, would we really want to be friends with people like Nadya Suleman or Kate Gosselin or Levi What’s-His-Name? Would we even want to call them our acquaintances? While Butter may be seeking attention on a different level than these “celebrities,” there are some similarities to their situations and mindsets. Which is why Butter’s popular schoolmates’ acts of pulling him into their group felt somehow off to me. What was their motivation for befriending him? Is that really how people would act toward an (in)famous “celebrity”?

The more I think about it, the more I suspect that Butter, too, did not escape the novel’s inattention to characters’ motivations. Butter is likable, but I also found it difficult to fully understand the train of logic that took him from lonely and overlooked outsider to posting a dramatic suicide plan on the Internet. Then, as Butter’s overnight fame drew him ever more into his own mess, I continued to have trouble believing his explanations for why he continued to keep the pretense up. Butter’s emotions and actions zigzagged back and forth in dizzyingly quick turns that I found difficult to keep up with. Eventually, I kind of just sat back and skimmed the rest of the book, resigned to the fact that I would never fully understand Butter and thus be unable to ever fully empathize with him. And when the conclusion finally came, rushed and ambiguous and contrived, I was left confused, astonished at how cleanly things were realized and tied up with a pretty little bow. There was so much potential in the number of complex layers this book could have explored, but instead, it decided to flatten it into the shape of a typical YA tale, of mistakes and poor decisions made and cleanly resolved at the end.

BUTTER took a great concept and made it a victim of amateur writing and a seeming lack of understanding of human motivations. It left a minimal impression on me, and its mixed messages will probably be forgotten completely in a few weeks, quickly collecting dust.
Profile Image for Sue.
242 reviews34 followers
October 20, 2013
I wasn't sure what to think when I started this novel. The premise disturbed and fascinated me, but I had put off reading it for a few months since it had arrived in our library. I should have read it the minute it entered our doors. I finished it in a day and it is occupying a dark corner of my brain, and may do so for some time.

Butter is a morbidly obese sixteen year old on the cusp of entering senior high school. His nickname is the result of a horrifying bullying incident about 5 years before the events of the book. We see the story from Butter's perspective and at first it seems like we should be feeling sympathetic to him, especially when we see how lonely he is. He plays the saxophone on his own because he can't bear the thought of people looking at him if he played in a band. The internet relationship he has with a girl from school who wouldn't normally even give him the time of day. Butter's dad doesn't talk to him - like he can't bring himself to acknowledge just how damaged his son is, and Butter's mum vacillates between enabling his problems and helping to end them. One minute she is offering him low fat yoghurt, the next she is serving a breakfast of waffles, eggs, syrup and bacon. No wonder this kid is messed up. Eating is an escape, a way of punishing his parents, and himself, for never living up to his expectations.

Fed up with feeling out of control, Butter decides to end his life on New Year's Eve by eating himself to death - on live webcam. He puts up a website telling the world his plans and waits for the fallout.

What happens is terrible, sad, poignant, enraging and entirely believable.

All of a sudden, Butter finds himself popular amongst the "in" crowd at school. They go out of their way to let him know they support his "choice" and will do everything they can to help him make it happen. Along the way we meet people in Butter's life who really do care about him and find him rejecting all of them, for various reasons that become thinner and thinner as the story ploughs on. My favourite of these was his teacher, Professor Dunn. The Professor connects with Butter through their love of jazz and he reaches out to Butter several times through the story. Butter dismisses all those who show him kindness as "lame' because who would want to be seen with/be friends with a guy like him? Only losers.

As we near New Year's Eve, Butter constructs a final menu, and considers measures to make sure he succeeds in this attempt. He is has an anaphylactic reaction to strawberries? Onto the menu they go, but not too early - he wants to put on a good show. It is macabre and absolutely gut-wrenching.

Will Butter really do it? Will he go through with it, or will he choose to confront his problems head on? I am going to make you read the book to find out, but make sure you check your expectations at the door. I was thrown on my ear by this book - more than once.

I will say that I did not like Butter the character. I found him manipulative and just generally nasty. However, I loved Butter the book. I loved it for its realistic feel, the way it confronted issues about obesity, bullying and the way social media can wreak devastating damage on some people.

The one sticking point for me has been the ending of the book. I won't reveal it, but it made me feel like Erin Lange had possibly become tired of Butter too - that she just wanted their association to be over. The conclusion was believable, but the time frame was very out of whack I thought.

Recommended for ages 14 and up. This is pretty full-on stuff, but totally worth it. I can't stop thinking about it.
Profile Image for Roxanne .
36 reviews
Want to read
March 21, 2012
First off:
Kid eating himself to death?
I love the idea... but on the internet?
Not so sure anymore.
Second off:
Kid gets encouragement?
Is he that unpopular they want to see him die in front of a webcam?
How cruel and Sadistic...
This sounds like a kind of bully story that I'll love.
Now I sound like the sadistic one.
But hey if it's about teen angst or something of the sort.
You got me wanting it.
I want this book. And Butter... I hope you don't want 'fame' that much...
Profile Image for Victoria.
202 reviews120 followers
January 28, 2022
I was bullied a lot in high school so much so that I knew exactly how Butter felt.

I seriously wish this was available when I was in high school. I wouldn't have felt so bad. So thank you for writing this.
Profile Image for Cassi.
64 reviews
November 10, 2021
An interesting, depressing, and uplifting book all in one. It reads well, and the plot kept me interested. Butter, as the main character is called, is both an empathetic and frustrating character at the same time. I read through it in one go, so it's an easy read. Not my favorite, but really all in all, not that bad. Butter sits firmly in the "That was good, but I won't revisit it". I'm happy to have experienced it, so I think it's worth the main glance.
Profile Image for Meliss.
789 reviews34 followers
May 21, 2016
I was expecting this book to be disturbing and heart-breaking and all around an incredible read, but it was a total letdown.

Butter is 423 pounds. He's always isolated himself because of his size, never pursuing his interests in fear of persecution and laughter. And he's fed up with it. If everyone is already going to look at him, to watch him eat, he decides to really give them something to look at. So he creates a website--ButtersLastMeal.com--and he's going to eat himself to death while his life long tormentors watch.

What starts off as a plan for his suicide, turns him...popular. All of his tormentors are suddenly cheerleaders, looking forward to and egging on his death. And the attention feels good to Butter, so good that it makes him want to back out. But will he be able to live with the consequences of not following through with the plan, or will he choose to end it all?

I read the description of this book when it first came out, and I almost bought it. It sounded so morbid, but like an incredibly interesting platform for discussing bullying and obesity. For whatever reason, I didn't buy the book--and now I am so glad I didn't. This book was the definition of underwhelming. Everything from the writing to the characters to the plot progression were just...not good. Absolutely disappointing.

I almost DNF this book about 50 pages into it when Butter was retelling the story of how he got his nickname. I won't bore you with the details, but basically Butter unintentionally insults this guy Jeremy and Jeremy decides to grab him and force him to apologize--and then forces him to eat a stick of butter. But my biggest issue was how Jeremy kept asking him for an apology. That just wouldn't happen; it's so unrealistic. A kid wouldn't force to eat a stick of butter just because he wouldn't apologize. They weren't in third grade--apologies don't really matter to high school bullies. I know it's a small detail, but it really annoyed me.

It was obvious by the narration that the author had never been overweight, and so all of it sounded really forced and unrealistic. The author obviously just researched cyber-bullying and obesity and thought she could write a book about it from an overweight person's perspective. And I understand that people write about situations that they have no personal experience with, but Lange was blatantly unsuccessful.

I really didn't like Butter as a character, either, and it wasn't just because of the inadequate writing. He was mean. He lashed out at everyone, even people that truly cared about him. And understand that being as obese as he was can have psychological symptoms like depression, but that doesn't mean he's has the right to be an asshole. He just wasn't a very nice guy.

Honestly, I'm surprised that I was able to finish it. I just morbidly needed to know how the story was going to end. But in the end, it was a boring book with stupid plot progression.
Profile Image for Jenni Arndt.
438 reviews331 followers
September 4, 2012
You can read all of my reviews at Alluring Reads.

A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Butter was a book that I knew I had to read. As someone who has had eating disorders around her all her life I am always intrigued to see how an author handles the subject. Now, we get to read about anorexia and bulimia all the time, but I have never come across a book that tackles the other end of the eating disorder spectrum. That's right, we finally have a novel about obesity & compulsive/emotional eating and it really hits the nail on the head as to how you can be addicted to food, just as you can be addicted to drugs or alcohol. I walked away from this novel very impressed with how Erin Jade Lange tackled the multitude of emotions connected with a disorder such as this.

Butter was a character that I felt for, he was unhappy in his own skin and he had just given up on trying to get better. He felt that he had passed the point of no return and was wallowing in what could have been. I totally understood his helplessness, once you tip the scales at 423 lbs it's not exactly easy to lose it. While I of course didn't agree with where he decided to go with it, I at least understood his motives, and with a very over the top plot such as this, that's saying something. I've personally had people who suffer from both ends of this spectrum in my life and I thought the little things were handled perfectly; Butter's mothers attempts to appease him through food and the vicious cycle that creates is something that I have seen every day.

A complaint that I do have about the novel though is that at times I found myself being reminded by instances that the students were in high school and not junior high. The coddling the Butter receives at home as well as the reactions of the kids at his school felt quite juvenile to me, then they would hop in their cars, or have a drink, and I would think "Oh yeah, these guys are in high school." While there was some dissent among the students I do feel that it wouldn't have been swept under the rug quite as it was after the first night that the website went up. Especially in this day and age with suicide topping the headlines, but alas, this is a novel, a fiction novel at that.

Overall, I was very happy with the novel and it took me on a rollercoaster of emotions that I wasn't sure the subject matter would allow it too. Lang clearly did her research on the health issues at hand and it really showed in the execution of the plot. If you're looking for a contemporary read that is definitely different from the pack, then I would say Butter is for you.
Profile Image for Anjana.
Author 3 books261 followers
July 13, 2012
JP/Butter is an obese boy in high school with a love for the saxophone and quite obviously, food. Butter's high school life involves him pretty much being ignored by everyone as he's way past the weight to be bullied as the fat kid; most of his classmates just feel sorry for him now.
He's also crushing on a girl from his school called Anna, but she'd never talk to him if she knew who he really was so he uses fake online identity called JP, claiming to be a boy from a nearby high school, and gets into an online relationship with her.

I've mixed feelings about this book. As soon as I read the blurb, I wanted to get my hands on Butter. I expected a powerful, emotional novel and I'll admit, the writing's actually pretty good but sadly, the protagonist, Butter, pissed me off. I'm not sure how I can love a book when I don't like the main guy in it.
Being overweight is a painful, mind-f**king ride for an obese person, or so I'd think but Butter's attitude in general was too cocky and arrogant for my taste. I tried to appreciate that he was strong despite being the fat guy who was stared at and mocked but I didn't even feel like he was a good person; his personality disturbed me and that's my main issue with this book. Most of the time, I just couldn't feel sorry for him or even support him.

However, setting that aside, I'll say it again, the writing is really good and holds your interest. The author manages to evoke all these emotions in you (trust me, it's going to be different for everyone) and it's obvious Erin has a way with words.
A guy claiming to eat himself to death on the internet? That's a pretty unique idea although at first I felt that it wasn't pulled off very realistically..but then again, teenagers are pretty dumb these days so maybe all the sudden popularity that Butter suddenly received from his classmates is understandable.

Over all, I would've liked this book more if it took a different direction with Butter's personality but there may be some people who actually like Butter just the way he is.

Profile Image for Larissa.
19 reviews36 followers
December 9, 2021
I really enjoyed this book! I finished it in 2 days! Seeing the character development of Butter is what intrigued me the most in which he went from the unpopular insecure kid, to popular kid to someone that does not care about popularity.
Profile Image for Cory.
Author 1 book397 followers
Want to read
June 26, 2011
I read the unedited first chapter on AW. I think this will be awesome and I eagerly anticipate it.
July 1, 2017
Sexist and a discussion of teen suicide which attempts to be humorous rather than serious and critical.
Profile Image for Olivia Emily.
115 reviews25 followers
November 1, 2015
Read this review along with others on my blog by clicking here.

“You think I eat a lot now? That’s nothing. Tune in December 31st, when I will stream a live webcast of my last meal. I can’t take another year in this fat suit, but I can end this year with a bang. If you can stomach it, you’re invited to watch…as I eat myself to death.”

Body image. Self confidence. Weight issues. Ring any bells?

For me, those phrases ring the bells of the young generation of modern society. My generation, to be frank, along with people younger and older than I. The introduction of the internet has led to the idea that everyone everywhere is judging you and only you. We all feel devastated when we get fewer likes on our profile picture than someone else, and all have a spring in our step when someone compliments our Instagram aesthetic. It is this idea – the idea that social media can control our emotions in previously unheard of way – that Erin Lange explores through Butter, and I’m endlessly happy that she did.

The book opens with a nameless boy, identifiable only by his derogatory nickname Butter. Personally, I thought ‘Butter’ was a term people adopted for him, due to his weight, and link between body fat and cooking fat. However, his musical companion known as The Professor argues otherwise; he is called Butter, because he plays the saxophone smooth like butter. Butter himself, however, buries the truth of his name deep down, blaming said truth for his current weight predicament. The withholding of information here really engaged me, and enticed me to find out why Butter is called what he is – could it really be so bad that he now tips the scales at 400 lbs because of it?

Next, comes Butter’s realisation that life is no longer worth living; he feels he is too fat to recover, cannot survive another year in this ‘fat-suit’, and doesn’t want to live in a world where severely overweight people are forced to pay for 2 seats on aeroplanes. As a reader, one understands and empathizes with his reasoning. One doesn’t, however, believe he will go through with it. That is until peer-pressure comes along, and Butter is met with another predicament:

Butter publishes his wishes on a website, quickly found by fellow students of the high school he hates so much. But, instead of grief, he is met with congratulations, and morbid encouragement, many people vowing to watch his deadly suicide meal on New Year Eve. This leads to a new-found popularity for Butter, one he doesn’t want to give up in aid of killing himself. Yet, if he doesn’t kill himself like he said he would, he is the cowardly kid who pulled a sickening prank, pretending he would kill himself. But if he does, who knows what will happen? Who knows what lies after death? What about his loving mother and not-so-loving father? But more importantly, what about his popularity status?

That’s a real dilemma…so what to do? Well, Erin Lange keeps the options open until the very end. One wishes Butter won’t go through with it, yet is ‘friends’ wish otherwise.

And that’s the basics of the story, one that keeps you guessing from the very start, right up until the very end. So, you’re perhaps wondering, why only 3 stars if you think the plot line was so brilliant? Well, Reader, I will tell you: the writing is lacking, as is the character development.

Because it’s a modern YA contemporary, it’s acceptable that this book is written colloquially, making it an easy read, and also feeling as though one can connect with the protagonist a little more. However, the writing is at no point exciting or particularly funny or particularly shocking. Many things are glossed over, just as many things are rushed through – hours can pass in a paragraph, yet those hours are important to the story, and I was really annoyed to be left behind by this story that seemed on a mission to run away with the wind. Had the pace been a little more controlled, I feel the book would have benefited drastically.

In terms of characters, Butter – in my opinion – isn’t likeable. He feels as though he’s entitled everything he wants, and acts cocky, on some occasions, to get it. I didn’t like reading from his perspective, because it felt like I was the bad guy for not being 400 lbs or more. However, this did help to build on the purpose of the story, and allowed me to understand the extent of Butter’s suicidal tendencies a lot more.

On another note, I felt as though Butter was very transparent, and didn’t have his morals in the right place; he fell for popularity so easily, despite hating the ‘popular kids’. Granted, I can understand how popularity gets its hooks into a person, yet it wan’t like Butter was universally popular, nor was he popular for the right reason, and nor was he intended to have this popularity forever. Frankly, his 15 minutes of fame were intended for the final 15 minutes of his life, a fact Butter was too naive to see, despite not being naive at all. In my opinion, these tropes combined didn’t work to build Butter as the poignant character he was probably intended to be.

Despite this, the characters the school kids played worked really well. One naively prays that real people are not as despicable as they are in this book. They, however, are, and that is a really striking thing for me in this book; the honesty Lange writes this book with is truly unnerving, yet equally effective.

What’s interesting about this book is the way it addresses modern issues; I never even considered the fact that peer pressure could cause suicides before this book. And now? I’m horrified I didn’t see it before. The kids in this book glamorize suicide, stating the protagonist has ‘Butter Balls’ to even consider it, let alone vow to do it. The encouragement Butter receives doesn’t feel threatening, it doesn’t even feel insulting; in the simplest terms, it is motivating. And motivating someone to commit suicide? Drastic, but unfortunately…realistic.

Overall, I didn’t particularly enjoy this book, but I was hooked on the suspense, and the ultimate outcome. Also, I very much respect the meaning and moral of this book. Thus, I awarded it 3/5 stars.
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