Author: Erin Jade Lange
Pub: 2012; Bloomsbury
Genre: Young Adult, Bullying, Suicide
Etc: Huge thanks to NG & Bloomsbury
If you hear the premise of this book, I guarantee you that it will interest you enough to pick it up. And even after I tell you all the reasons why I disliked the book, go ahead and STILL pick it up, because it's a quick read.
Butter is JP's nickname. He is this amazingly obese high school boy who has no friends and finds comfort in food. He knows he's disgusting, I mean, why else did his father stop talking to him, but it can't help it. [There's this anguish-filled scene where he is at the dining room table stuffing himself but as soon as his parents - his audience - leaves, he quits because there's no one to observe him eat.]
Butter is also in love with a classmate Anna and via Instant Messaging begins an online relationship with her. Of course, IRL she doesn't acknowledge him. UNTIL, in a desperate move Butter creates a web page - "Butter's Last Meal". He marks New Year's Eve to be the day that he eats himself to death. AND does it via a live feed on line for anyone to watch.
This depressive move sparks an interest from all of his classmates. All of a sudden he is known. The cool kids invite him to eat with them and even then invite him to hang out. Butter is confused with all of this attention. He likes it but can't believe that they really want to watch his death. I mean, they don't. Not really, right?
This book is an amazing commentary on our "watch the car crash, bottle knecking" life style. For that I can't appreciate it. As a society we are drawn to reality television and it would not surprise me in the least that there would be some sick punks out there who would watch something as disgusting and tragic as a lonely kid eating himself to death. I mean, seriously...others out there must remember those horrifying underground cult films Faces of Death right? There's an audience for this sort of creeptastic stunt. THAT part is what drew me in.
Unfortunately, it just didn't live up to my expectations. I wasn't too fond of Butter as a person and it had nothing to do with his insecurities, depression, or poor choices. I just couldn't picture him as a real character (although the desperation he felt is assuredly real). Also, I couldn't buy in to the fact that NO ONE in the WHOLE FREAKIN' SCHOOL didn't rat him out. Sure, there was discussion on making this Event secretive, with a password protective website and all, but really?! And the whole attitude from people who shared their opinion was, oh he won't REALLY do it, and if he tries it's not like he'll REALLY die but seriously, no one told on him?
Finally, the thing that bugged me the most was the wrap up speech on bullying. In a nutshell, it quickly turned into a PSA for anti-bullying and what it might look like to be bullied.