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?
Butter is an obese high school student who doesn’t have many friends. He has little to no interest in dealing with his weight, and decides that on New Years Eve he will be broadcasting a live web stream from his bedroom, where he will be eating himself to death. To announce this, he creates a website where his classmates can log on and comment with ideas and suggestions, which soon has Butter sitting at the cool kid table at lunch and attending parties after school.
The bullying that Butter experiences in this book is so intense and severe that I was nearly shaking with rage at the attitude nearly all of the high schoolers had. Even worse is that it isn’t obvious bullying, so most of them probably wouldn’t have admitted that they WERE bullying. In fact, Butter doesn’t even realize that their sudden interest in him after he has declared he will be eating himself to death live on the Internet is wrong. This causes the reader to waver between feelings for Butter and his obvious cry for help and the actions of the high schoolers who seemingly support Butter and his decision.
Even if you can’t connect with Butter as a person (which, because of his decisions, could be hard to do-he isn’t in a situation that many of us have experienced and is rather apathetic about things that I personally would be crazy about), you will find yourself pulled in to this gripping story as Butter goes from loneliness to popularity because of a suicide threat. Rather than solve this problem in an easy way, Erin Jade Lange uses realistic reactions and interactions to create a compelling story that ends in a way that will have you questioning the values taught to us in our teenage years and what you would have done instead.