Chantelle's Reviews > Butter

Butter by Erin Jade Lange
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it was amazing
bookshelves: amazing, favorites, life-lessons, dark, panacea-2013, on-my-shelf, reviewed


The full review can be found here.

Butter was utterly captivating; from the cover, to the blurb, to the first paragraph through to the last. I honestly can't remember ever being so enamoured by one book, which unfortunately makes writing a comprehensive review a lot harder! However, if I could only use one word to describe this novel, it would probably be 'morbid', but let me explain.

"Butter" is a teenage boy, and to make life even harder, he's morbidly obese. At such a sensitive and pivotal stage in life, Butter's battles with self-worth, identity, romance and popularity are a lot more complicated than most. These themes are relevant to every single teenager, but throw in the often cruelty of kids or the indifference of adults and you get angst that has the ability to deeply touch every single person who reads this novel - whether they experience it everyday acutely, or witness it's effect on someone else. Erin Lange writes a disturbingly honest portrayal of a boy stuck in a vicious cycle so bleak, that he decides to take his own life, and no one stops him because no one believes he'll follow through. Bringing her story to the 21st century, Butter does this online through a haunting promise to eat himself to death.

I fell in love with Butter in so many different ways. It did what every book should do; it surprised me, it made me laugh, it made me think, it made me feel. You know a book is important to you when you genuinely feel like a different person by the time you've turned that last page. As someone who's grown up with a sister who has struggled with weight issues all her life, I've seen how extensive and long-lasting the effects of low self-esteem can be, I've seen how bullying comes in so many forms, whether that be self-inflicted, from peers, or from adults who think calling impressionable kids "fatty" is harmless. Although Butter's situation took almost fantastical heights, the juxtaposition of his hope and imminent death created a sick thrill that thoroughly engaged me through both it's plot and moral repercussions. The only people who aren't swept away on his journey are those too insular and narrow-minded to realise that it's not as simple as 'they eat a lot, it's their own fault they're fat'. I don't think that Lange is saying that obesity is okay, I think she's trying to get people to think about why people are the way they are, why they struggle, why they're different and that it's never simple; and that this is applicable to anyone who gets bullied or is a bully. I didn't find the psychology of Butter or his sensitivities exaggerated. I relished that Lange was voicing an issue that is so relevant to today's first world societies. Lange creates a rich suburbia where there is this constant issue of entertainment, it's almost like a trap of privilege. Butter resorts to food; others the internet, parties or drinking. Do they have too much freedom? Is there a greater need for guidance or discipline. Butter just wanted one person to stop him, one person to reassure him of his existential value. Butter is an appeal to young adults to listen to those individuals who don't feel heard.

The characters were confronting. You have Butter, who for goodness' sake refers to himself as Butter! That's not his real name, people! And yet he's endearing, he's still a teenage boy who wants the same things as any other. You have his mother who just wants him to be happy but has no idea how to help. You have doctors, and teachers, and classmates who are so conscious of bullying that they're indifferent and just ignore him. These are carefully constructed, thought out honest characters who everyone will be able to connect with in some way.

Throughout the novel, there is this constant tug of war between self-perception and reality. Butter's journey to me, wasn't one of derogatory humiliation, it was one of self discovery and growing up. And after reading this book, the insight is truly one that I want to share with others, I can not recommend this book highly enough! And coming from me, who usually can't handle a plot unless it's championed by an epic romance, it says a lot. However, I don't want all you readers thinking that this book is too 'heavy' or 'serious' to read TODAY. It's still uplifting, it's still funny and it's still heart-warming, and I guarantee that it will be one of your favourite reads this year. That is why I think this book is morbid, it touches on such dark, uncomfortable issues and yet it affected me so immensely, that I'm just in awe of it.

For more reviews, visit my blog Looking for the Panacea.
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Reading Progress

March 2, 2013 – Started Reading
March 2, 2013 – Shelved
March 6, 2013 – Shelved as: favorites
March 6, 2013 – Shelved as: life-lessons
March 6, 2013 – Shelved as: dark
March 6, 2013 – Shelved as: panacea-2013
March 6, 2013 – Shelved as: amazing
March 6, 2013 – Finished Reading
June 25, 2013 – Shelved as: on-my-shelf
June 25, 2013 – Shelved as: reviewed

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Anna (new) - added it

Anna Great review, Chant. I've wanted to read this since I read the blurb. Must find it now on the galley. :)

Chantelle Thanks Anna! I hope you like it as much as I did :)

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