Wednesday, 27 March 2013


Butter by Erin Lange

You think I eat a lot now? That's nothing. Tune in December 31st, when I will stream a live webcast of my last meal. Death row inmates get one. Why shouldn't I? I can't take another year in this fat suit, but I can end this year with a bang. If you can stomach it, you're invited to watch ... as I eat myself to death.

This book scared me a little bit. It's not a horror or anything like that, but a lot of the things Butter says about food resonated with me because I feel the same way. And that was scary for me. Like when I read We Need To Talk About Kevin and I found myself agreeing with Kevin, which is really not the point of the book. So, as someone with weight issues myself, this book struck a chord, but I don't necessarily think people who don't have those kind of problems won't enjoy reading it. There were a lot of negatives in that sentence, hold on while I check the grammar. . . . That looks right.

Butter is not a sympathetic character (Butter, by the way, is a nickname that has been bestowed on him, his real name is shrouded in mystery). At times I did find myself thinking I didn't really care whether he lived or died. At one point, I genuinely thought 'I wish he'd get on and kill himself.' Because, despite a powerful opening that really did hit me, this book started to slide downhill. Fast. There isn't a single likeable character here, and really, you're just waiting for the main event. To me, the rest of the plot was meaningless, all I really wanted to see was whether Butter would actually go through with his decision to eat himself to death live on the internet or not. The other stuff - couldn't have cared less. I wanted to know what happened and see the fall out of however things turned out.

Which was another issue for me. What happens after what happens (trying not to spoil anything for anyone who might still want to read this book) didn't sit right with me. I don't know if it's just because certain characters behaved out of character, or there wasn't actually enough fall out for my liking, but something felt off about the way the book ended and I didn't like it.

This is the first book of Erin Lange's that I've ever read - I'm not even sure if there are more, this could well be her debut - but my opinion of how this book ended up won't stop me from reading any more of her books. As I said before, it's got one of the strongest openings I've read in a long time. I think perhaps the concept just wasn't quite enough to sustain a whole novel, perhaps it would have worked better as a novella, I don't know. If the concept of this book intrigues you - and if it doesn't, I really do think there might be something wrong with you, because it is a really interesting idea - you should definitely give it a try. You might even like the ending!

Oh, I almost forgot to say. How cool is that cover? It actually looks like it's been carved out of a block of butter. I love it.

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