Life in the Fat Lane

( 99 )

Overview

Beauty pageant winner, homecoming queen--Lara has the world at her feet.  Until she gets fat.

Despite a strict diet and workout schedule, Lara is soon a nameless, faceless, 200-pound-plus teenage blimp.  She's desperate to get her to-die-for body back--and to find an explanation for her rapid weight gain.

When she's diagnosed with a mysterious metabolic disorder that has no known cure, Lara fears she'll spend the rest of her...

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Overview

Beauty pageant winner, homecoming queen--Lara has the world at her feet.  Until she gets fat.

Despite a strict diet and workout schedule, Lara is soon a nameless, faceless, 200-pound-plus teenage blimp.  She's desperate to get her to-die-for body back--and to find an explanation for her rapid weight gain.

When she's diagnosed with a mysterious metabolic disorder that has no known cure, Lara fears she'll spend the rest of her life trapped in a fat suit.  Who will stand by her?  Her image-conscious family?  Her shallow friends?  Her handsome boyfriend?  Or will she be left alone in the land of the fat girls?

From the Paperback edition.

Sixteen-year-old Lara, winner of beauty pageants and Homecoming Queen, is distressed and bewildered when she starts gaining weight and becomes a fat girl.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Life in the Fat Lane:

"...the author lays out the issues with unusual clarity, sharp insight, and cutting irony."
--Kirkus Reviews, Pointer

"...the author is on target with her estimation of how greatly readers will share Lara'a horror at her plight.  .  .  she is sure to hit a nerve."
--Publishers Weekly

From the Paperback edition.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Lara Ardeche seems to have everythingthe perfect boyfriend, a roomful of beauty pageant trophies, a talent for the piano and terrific looksand as her saga begins, she is crowned homecoming queen of her Nashville high school. Upon this paragon, Bennett Did You Hear About Amber? visits a made-up disease, which makes Lara balloon past 200 pounds, no matter how little she eats and how much she exercises. Her popularity turns to ashes and she becomes alienated from herself, "a prisoner in a fat suit"and her troubles have only begun. Bennett drops in transcripts from TV talk shows and news reports to demonstrate just how ingrained is the prejudice against fat people in American culture, and she obviously wants to challenge popular notions of weight, self-image and beauty. Reading this often artificial novel for insight into these issues is a little like eating peanut M&Ms for the protein, but it's a similarly addictive experience. While Bennett contrives both the obstacles facing Lara and the means by which Lara surmounts them, the author is on target with her estimation of how greatly readers will share Lara's horror at her plight; if she does not revolutionize anyone's thinking about weight, she is sure to hit a nerve. Ages 12-up. Mar.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A beauty queen develops a rare (and fictional) weight-gaining disorder. "Reading this often artificial novel for insight into [issues of weight, self-image and beauty] is a little like eating peanut M&Ms for the protein, but it's a similarly addictive experience," said PW. Ages 12-up. (Aug.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
VOYA - Beth E. Andersen
Lara Adeche lives a golden life: teenage pageant queen, prom queen. Handsome and loving boyfriend. Kind and generous heart to those less perfect. Money. Good-looking parents. Then the unthinkable happens: in just one year, Lara's weight balloons from 118 to 218 pounds. Her desperate, dangerous attempts to diet fail. She lives the nightmare of being obese in a thin-obsessed world. Her classmates' cruelty breaks her heart and opens her eyes to the hellish twin torments of social invisibility and of being the butt of savage teasing. And just as the pretty veneer of Lara's physical self crumples into something unrecognizable, so does the shallow "for appearances' sake" structure of her parents' marriage. Bennett writes bluntly about the misery that overweight teenagers experience. Lara understands finally that there is more to a person than a number on a scale even as she is paralyzed by the self-loathing and despair caused by her failure to regain control of her body. Bennett uses the literary device of an invented metabolic illness (Axell Crowne Syndrome) to dismantle, rescue, and rebuild Lara's soul. At times almost too painful to read, Life in the Fat Lane accomplishes two important goals: it cautions image-conscious adolescents to build a base of meaningful values, and it reassures overweight teens that the world is full of wonderful people who see right past the flesh and into the beauty of each person's essence. This book offers a full measure of wisdom and hope. VOYA Codes: 4Q 5P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, Every YA (who reads) was dying to read it yesterday, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
School Library Journal
Gr 8 UpLara, 16, is just what most girls want to be: thin, beautiful, and smart. She's dating one of the cutest boys in school, and she's popular. Then she notices that she's gained a few pounds. Unconcerned, she starts to work out harder and watches what she eats. However, her weight keeps going up, and soon Lara weighs over 200 pounds. She spends a week in a hospital on a controlled liquid diet, and the doctors and nutritionists can't understand why she becomes even heavier. Suddenly, she is no longer popular and is faced with ridicule from everyone around her. The story of Lara's weight gain is set against a backdrop of her outwardly perfect, but deeply troubled family life: her father is having a long-term affair, her mother is insecure and obsessed with her and Lara's appearance, and her younger brother is angry and rebellious. All of these characters and situations are skillfully drawn, resulting in a compelling story. Bennett captures the voices of teenagers well and offers insight into what it's like to be overweight in a society that is so caught up in appearances. Lara is further challenged when she finds out that the cause of her sudden weight gain is Axell-Crowne Syndrome readers learn in an author's note that the disease is fictional. This plot device allows for more insight into Lara's character, as she struggles with being overweight through no "fault" of her own. While the fabrication of the disease may surprise or even disappoint some readers, most will find this an enjoyable and thought-provoking read.Dina Sherman, Brooklyn Children's Museum, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385740067
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 7/12/2011
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 360,827
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.75 (w) x 8.28 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Cherie Bennett has written many novels for young people, for TV (Smallville), and is an award-winning playwright. She lives in Los Angeles.
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Read an Excerpt

It was three days before Thanksgiving, but I was not filled with the holiday spirit.  I had gained eight more pounds in four weeks from the prednisone, and I now weighed 136 pounds.

I was fat.

Me.  Fat.  All because of a stupid drug for some stupid allergies.  I stopped taking it and my lips and eyes swelled up.  So I took it again, vowing to eat even less.  Prednisone was not going to get the best of me.

It was no use.  I got fatter.

Everyone knew I had gained weight, they just didn't know how much.  Except my mother, who could peg my weight gain to the pound.  She was appalled at how I looked and found it impossible to believe that it was just because of prednisone.  So she watched every bite I put into my mouth.

She also called the allergist and demanded an appointment, which was set for the next day, two days before Thanksgiving.

Dad, away on a long business trip, called often and asked how my weight was.  He talked about willpower and positive thinking.  I told him I'd try harder to lose.

And I did try.  Only it wasn't working.  I was turning into this fat thing.

It was a nightmare.  Most of my clothes no longer fit.  Just today after school I had made a desperate, secret trip to the mall, where I'd used the credit card my grandfather had given me on my last birthday to buy exact copies of many of my clothes, in a larger size.  I hoped against hope that no one would realize they were a size nine/ten instead of a five/six.

And now, as I lay at home in my bed after an hour on the treadmill, two hours of piano, and two more of homework, my stomach growled with emptiness.  Breakfast and lunch had both been diet Coke and lettuce.  For dinner I had eaten a small, skinless chicken breast, three tomato slices, and half a plain baked potato.

Here it was midnight, and I was so hungry.

But no.  I wouldn't eat.  Would not.  Eat.

I padded to my door and opened it.  Mom wasn't home yet from the after-theater dessert party she had catered that evening.  Scott's room was quiet.

I could picture the inside of our refrigerator: fried chicken left over from Scott's dinner.  Half of a coconut cream pie a neighbor had made.  And in the freezer, ice cream.  Chocolate Haagen-Dazs, with nuts.  Behind it, two jumbo-sized frozen Snickers bars.

Before I knew it, my feet were carrying me downstairs, into the kitchen.  My hand was in the refrigerator.  I brought a fried chicken drumstick to my lips, and--

No.  I wouldn't eat it.  Would not.  Willpower.

I put it back and turned to walk out of the kitchen.

And then someone who was not me went back to the freezer and took out both frozen Snickers bars.  That someone ran with them up to her room.

Whoever she was, she didn't even turn on her light to eat.  She just sat there in the dark, like some fat, feral creature of the night, cracking the frozen chocolate off with her teeth, loving the sensation of rich, sweet, comforting chocolate in her mouth, mixing with her saliva, sliding down her throat.

The candy wrappers got stuffed behind her bed.

It wasn't me.

From the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 99 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(61)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(13)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(8)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 99 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 16, 2010

    not for anyone over the age of 14

    this book was, in my opinion, silly and unrealistic.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 28, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    "axell-crowne syndrome"

    The book was fabulous. I would definitly reccommend it to some of my friends because it makes you realize how much being fit and being fat can hurt somebody. Now here's a girl who came from being a beauty pageant to weighing over 200 pounds in less than a year. She was ridiculed and even the people who were the same size as her made fun of her ): Such a lesson-teacher

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2012

    Amazing...

    Wow, this book had so much meaning. I loved it sio much! Definitely five stars!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2012

    Beauty book

    I read this book while in high school, at the time i was just reading it to read but i re-read it a few weeks ago&its helped be come to terms with my BDD against weight

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 20, 2011

    Best book ever!

    I randomly picked up this book and bought it, not bothering to read the back cover. I'm so glad I did buy this book, because it's amazing. The author creates a (unlikely) situation but I think it's very creative. I recommend this book!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 31, 2010

    good

    don't think its possible what happened but this was a great book

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2008

    wow!

    this book was the best book that i have ever read :] i could NEVER put the book down! it might seem a little boring at some times but i loved itt! :]]]]]

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2007

    Not the best story for self concious teens

    This was a good book, however teens should not be so worried if they gain 100 lbs. its not the end of the world. it was a good book, but i am overweight myself, and the story was a little over dramatic.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2011

    best book ever

    you should really read this book its all about standing up for your friends and not judging people on the way they look

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2011

    Great book

    This book is hard at frist but gets better by the end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2006

    i agree with superficial

    i swear that is all people care about these days. their weight. i think peoples lives today are being completely consumed with the need to be at least a size 6. i mean come on. it is superficial and i really don't see how you can feel superior when you are thin. you are the same person. and if those people you feel superior over think you are superior then they need to get a life too because they are shallow. i think that is all i have to say.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2006

    superficial

    the actual plot wasn't bad but the message is. you know, being five-seven and weighing 136 is so not fat. lara is just being a stereotypical popular fluff-brain. she told molly her BFF that she felt SUPERIOR to her all because she was thinner! i mean, for Christ's sake, what is her problem? lara deserves to become obese to pay the price for her nasty queen bee self-righteous snobby shallow prissy attitude. to the laras of the world, i hope karma kicks you in the butt. and to parents like lara's, go to counseling. people like molly, jett, and scott: forget people like lara, her shallow friends, and her selfish, artificial parents.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2013

    Really

    It sounds durmatic and really stupid. Im not fat so i wouldnt know but ibhave larger friends. Realy even if ur fat if u ahv a good personality ul have friends, unless ur just weard. Ive been unpopular and popular this is not it

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2013

    People who were once skinny and now is fat may get shunned because most popular people only like skinny people and if your friends are popular and are your friends because your pretty and skinny it is not over dramatic this stuff happens in real life

    People who were once skinny and are now fat may get shunned because most popular people only like skinny people and if your friends are popular and are your friends because your skinny and pretty

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2013

    I liked it

    Umm im overweight to but im not shunned by people a lil over dramatic

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    Peah

    THE COVER IS GROSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!! :0

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2013

    Read!

    This book was a real eye opener. Im skinny myself but i feel fat sometimes. This book taught me about friendship, love, family, and apperence. Good book!!! Read

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2012

    Hi

    This book is amazing.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2012

    ?

    I have not read this book yet but should i buy it or is it all drama about the wieght gain because if so that sounds like a not enjoyable read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2012

    Amazing

    I read this book a while ago but do recomend it for anyone

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 99 Customer Reviews

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