Butter by Erin Jade Lange

It’s been way too long since I’ve read a book of fiction, so when I got Butter, I devoured it (hah) in one evening.  This was not just because of my fiction-fast, but because the book is really good.  I loved the themes of popularity desperation, the nuanced portrayal of bullying, and the dissection of eating disorders and obesity.

I don’t know if I’ve ever read a YA book from the perspective of an obese teenager.  I liked that Butter was a typical teenage boy in a lot of ways – crushing on the cute girl, making friends at summer camp, desperate for attention.  I also liked that he’s a saxophone player (like I was!), and that his musical talent is central to the plot.  Butter’s relationship with the kids at school is where the big drama is, but we also get to see the way his obesity affects his family, his teachers, and his doctors.  Lange doesn’t blame Butter for his weight, but she also doesn’t hold back from showing the consequences of being young and overweight.

I can see this book being hugely influential for those who read it.  There has been an uptick in discussion on fat shaming culturally, and I hope books like Butter encourage readers to be empathetic toward overweight people.  And I hope it encourages readers who are overweight, that they will feel understood, validated, and inspired.   Continue reading

Why Do Good Girls Like Bad Boys?

There is a stereotype in Western culture that good girls like bad boys, and like all stereotypes, there is some truth and some lies to it.  [A caveat:  this is not about girls liking bad boys in movies!  How could we not?  Villains are often attractive people with a confident sense of humor who are more fully developed characters than their heroic counterparts.  Everyone crushes on movie bad boys; that is not what this post is about.]

Although not all “good girls” (which is a ridiculous label) like “bad boys” (also ridiculous), I think it is probably a true statement that women are often attracted to people who they know aren’t good for them.  And although I don’t have personal experience as a man, I’m willing to bet that men are often attracted to women that they know are bad for them.  So why do we do it?  Continue reading