If you want to read a novel that incorporates the good, the bad, and the ugly of social media, ‘Butter’ by Erin Jade Lange is your thing.
Butter is the nickname of a 16 year old boy. He is an outcast and a bully target, because he is fat. He is not just big boned or a little jolly, he is over 400 pounds and he has been to fat camp more than once. And because his size is all that his peers see, he is so alone and hopeless that he decides to kill himself.
How does he go about it? He sets up a website called butterslastmeal.com and announces that he will eat himself to death on new years eve in front of a live stream.
How do his peers react to his morbid plan? Aside from a few exceptions, they give him positive recognition. They make him popular. They give him an opportunity to shine. However, they do so only, because he is the current talk of the town. He is the side show freak that holds their fleeting interest for now.
Butter is faced with the dilemma that his online fame and his new found pals only last as long as he is willing to die for them.
I really enjoyed this book, because Erin Jade Lange shows us the brilliant mind of Butter. We are the ones privy to his inside world and we see a guy who has wit, who has talents (he plays a mean saxophone), and who also knows how to work the system to his advantage (he has an online relationship with the girl of his dreams). He is a kid who is dealing with his problems the best he can. Those problems include relentless bullying by his peers, or being ignored. Butter’s voice is powerful and sensitive, acutely aware and overly dramatic at the same time. He is a complex character who has complex relationships, not only with people his age, but also with the adults in his life. He also always has more choices than he thinks he does. And that is something worth learning, no matter what weight you are.
So in a nutshell: Butter by Erin Jade Lange: Go get it and read it. It is really good.