Butter

Publisher: Faber Children's Books

Review

Isolated and bullied at school, with a dysfunctional family life and weighing over 400 lbs, 'Butter' as he is nicknamed by his high school classmates, feels he has little left to live for. His love for music has lost its shine, and even his online chats with Anna, the girl of his dreams, have to be carried out under a false persona. Butter makes up his mind life is no longer worth living but decides to go out with a bang, announcing that he plans to eat himself to death live on the internet on December 31st. 

Yet Butter's online announcement proves to have unforseen consequences - far from pity, insults or indifference, he suddenly finds himself a celebrity amongst his classmates, who become fascinated by his horrifying plan. No longer ostracised, Butter soon becomes part of the popular crowd - and life takes an unexpected turn for the better. But what will happen when December 31st rolls around?

Cleverly balancing darkness and light, this is a unique young adult novel which takes an unflinching look at the isuses of bingeing, overeating, depression and suicide. Lange's portrayal of both Butter and his popular classmates is always complex, sensitive and nuanced, and she writes compellingly about the challenges faced by contemporary teens - in particular the problems of internet bullying, and the tensions between online and 'real-life' identities. Bold and striking, Butter is a powerful and courageous novel that is certain to leave readers with plenty to think about.

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