Monday, 18 March 2013

Butter - Erin Lange; Review.

Book Details:
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Faber and Faber (7 Mar 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0571294405
ISBN-13: 978-0571294404


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

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When I’m writing a review for books, I like to read other people’s opinions and read their review on GoodReads or Amazon. Why? Not because I’m swayed by what they say, but because it’s an eye opener to see the variations of interpretations that come from reading the same book.

When I opened some reviews for Butter, I was surprised. Pleasantly so, because everyone else’s uptake on the book matches mine. Some people even worded their reviews better in response to what it meant to them. A lot of individuals, I’m glad to say, not only read the book, but took a deeper look in to what this meant to them. To us. To everyone.

And that’s where my review starts. With the widespread effect this book has on people about questioning what their life revolves around and what the term “bullying” really means to them.

So here’s Butter. A brutally honest novel about a boy and his love for food. Who eats when he’s happy. Eats when he’s sad. Eats to escape the eternal misery that is his life. Comfort, is what he finds from food. Sound familiar? A review I read so aptly put in to words what I was thinking while reading this book, and I shall quote them here. They said, “I'd say that Butter IS one of the most sympathetic characters in YA contemp lit today because of all of his struggles. He is all of us.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Erin Lange has created Butter out of a mould of who we are behind closed doors. It’s not just about obesity that has slowly become the common culture in Western countries, but rather we’re reading about loneliness, bullying, the need for friendship, the vulnerability of feelings. Written in a swift and honest manner, at times it’s hard to feel sorry for Butter as it feels like he brings it upon himself, and at other times you feel the ache for this character that may already exist in our real, everyday lives. The shopper next to you in line whose hands are full of junk food, the large individual who tries to get in to the lift next to you with an embarrassed smile when it means everyone else is squashed.

For me, Lange managed to give rise to the questions about society, culture, and why it should matter. Sure it’s good to be healthy, not being on the spectrum of “too skinny” or “too large” but it makes you wonder about the kind of people who try to reinforce this images in society and the impact of it on individuals – what we see in Butter. Who’s pushed to the edge of bullying that he contemplates eating himself to death. Over social networking sites, just because he knows he can reach more people. What does that say about the way our society deals with such issues and the kind of places kids like Butter can turn to when it gets too much for them?

I digress, but this book is more than just the tale of Butter and his woes as he attempt and fails and re-attempt to pick up the battered pieces of his life. Lange has brought to us a unique story with a voice that touches on important aspects of life today and winds them in to a heartfelt story that is sure to get your mind twirling.

1 comment:

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