This book is about an obese teenager, known as Butter, from Arizona, who is desperate for popularity. In fact, he will do anything to gain acceptance from his schoolmates, even gorge himself to death on a live video link for all his classmates to see. When he has promised this, Butter gains the approval of his peers, and he is admired for his audacity by all. However, though all they see is the suicidal, 423-pound teenager, we get to know the real Butter, who underneath the ‘fat suit’ is an amusing, creative guy and an incredibly talented saxophonist to boot. However, there is one question everyone is asking – will he do it? You’ll have to read the book to find out.
I found this book very interesting because I think it covers a lot of modern issues in a small space of time. The first and most obvious one is our hunger for popularity – everybody wants to be famous because our society revolves around this idea that people who are famous are somehow better. The second issue is definitely, although you can’t really see it from my quick summary, the impact the internet has on our lives. In the book, Butter admits that “whatever appetite I lost for food I gained for Internet attention.”, and this is definitely one of the prominent points raised by the book, that just like we want to be popular in real life, we want to be recognised on the internet just as much, if not more, and this is damaging us. Another point is the obvious one about obesity, but I think it’s not really about Butter being fat, but how others view him because of it. We live in an age where image is a lot more important to most than our character, and this is especially showed throughout Butter’s relationship with Anna, a beautiful girl in his class, over the internet. She is completely won over by his alter ego, and even boasts about him to her friends at school, and this is because of Butter’s personality rather than his image. However, when he tries to talk to her at school, he is rejected as the “fat kid” and humiliated in front of everyone. In short, I really liked this books because I thought it was a great story when I read it, but even better to think about after I read it and seeing all the underlying messages between the lines, and I would recommend it to ages 12+
(I have described what I found interesting in the book in this review, but if all the messages about society and self image seem a bit too philosophical, you can almost ignore them and just think about the story. Which is also very good.)