294 pages; published September 2012
Butter is overweight. Very overweight. In a fit of despair about his size and his inability to connect with the girl of his dreams, he decides to commit suicide by eating himself to death on New Year’s at midnight – live, online.
This is an incredibly uncomfortable book to read. Butter had always been obese, but has hit an all-time high. He is smart and charming and an incredibly talented saxophone player – but few people know that. Butter may not really realize it. He is isolated at school, coddled by his mother, ignored by his father. He’s chatting online with the most beautiful girl in school, but is slowly realizing that she wants to meet and he can’t let that happen. After one devastating incident, he decides the only way to get out of this is to end it all.
Butter creates a website – ButtersLastMeal.com – and lays out his plan to appear live at midnight on New Years and eat himself to death, ending with a whole stick of butter. The response is so bizarre, yet so believable in the detached but voyeuristic environment of the web. Butter becomes a person of interest, invited at last into the popular circles he once watched across the cafeteria. He has friends and is invited to outings and parties as, online, schoolmates are egging him on and suggesting lists of possible items to be part of the last meal. He even gets to know the object of his crush in real life. And yet, even Butter knows the popularity that is bringing him new-found happiness all hinges on a single point – they want him to go through with it.
The story is surreal and monstrously painful, but – like the morbidly interested classmates – you can’t look away.
The writing in this book is excellent and the story is brilliantly told. It is not fun, but it is worth it.