Monday, May 6, 2013

Butter by Erin Jade Lange

A few years ago, a friend who shares my book tastes (almost exactly) told me I should read this book.  I dutifully noted the title, but since it hadn't come out yet (he'd read an ARC), it got shuffled down in by TBR pile.

Last week I was browsing at the library and was delighted to finally see a copy!  I checked it out, along with about twenty other books, and brought it home.

I finally started reading it last night and I almost didn't go to bed.  I wanted to read the entire thing in one sitting.  I finished it this morning and my emotions are all in a jumble.  It feels personal, somehow.

Butter is a book you won't soon forget.

The main character, Marshall, is nicknamed "Butter" after a cruel incident involving an entire stick of butter.  Butter is overweight, plagued by a silent father, a loving yet hopelessly ineffective mother, and a highschool full of unfriendly kids.  His professor and doctor try to help, but Butter is convinced that no one cares about him.

So he creates, a grotesque suicide mission with live streaming.  What happens next is not what he expected: he becomes popular.  People love the idea, it's novel, daring, and life-threatening.  As Butter's popularity increases, so does his resolve to carry out his original plan.  He spirals out of control and no one, the naysayers nor his adoring public, are ready for what follows.

The characters, while regular teens, are fully realized, three dimensional, making them all memorable.  Butter's a musician, a brilliant saxophone player; the girl of his dreams, Anna, is a fake blond who secretly hates shopping.  Jeremy, Butter's nemesis, is a semi-rich kid unliked by even his friends.

I loved Marshall (Butter)'s voice -- he is the kind of guy I'd love to spend time with.  He's funny, charming, sweet, and incredibly smart and talented.  It pained me to see his emotional journey, and it brought to mind some of my own darkest moments.

Butter is a deep, tragic glimpse into the life of someone who has suffered emotional, physical and mental damage at his own hands as well as everyone else's, driving his actions.  It's a reminder to me to look beneath the surface when I meet someone.  There's more to us than even we know.

Have you read Butter?  If so, what did you think?


  1. I loved this book! I completely agree about the characters. They read like real people, and they helped make this book so complex. I wanted to hate all the people who were encouraging him to kill himself, but I just couldn't, at least not completely. It was a really great read.

    If you're interested, here's the review I wrote for this book:

    1. Awesome! Great review. :) I especially like the way you pointed out that it isn't about losing weight -- Butter was already a likeable guy, with or without the weight. It was more about him coming to terms with the fact that he had to own his choices and make changes if he wasn't happy with himself, inside or out.