by Cherie Bennett
Laura is one of the most popular girls in school- pretty, smart and of course, thin. Then she begins to inexplicably gain weight- in spite of hard dieting and exercise. After an extra hundred pounds or so puts her in the hospital, the doctors discover she has a rare (and fictional) metabolic disorder which causes her to gain. Returning to school, Laura finds she's no longer popular, taunted or ignored by her former friends, and offered well-meaning (but insulting, she feels) dieting advice by other girls she hardly knows. She feels it's all grossly unfair since she didn't get fat due to bad eating habits or lack of will power, but from her illness- and continually whines and complains about her condition, while looking down her nose at other overweight people. She becomes friends with another girl who is also overweight, but continually sees herself as superior because her weight problem is medical, and the other girl's isn't. I felt annoyed with her that this attitude never changed. Life in the Fat Lane just winds up showing how despicably people treat (and think of) each other based on body image, and how shallow this one girl is- obsessed with her looks even after this experience. I read the book all the way to the end hoping to see her mature or learn something from it, but that didn't happen. The characters are pretty realistic, Laura's uneven home life and difficulties dealing with the changes in her social circle make it interesting nonetheless. While I found the main character annoying, I did enjoy the book, but I feel it doesn't send a very good message to teen girls with similar concerns who might read it.
Rating: 2/5 ........ 260 pages, 1998
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