May 3, 2009

Life in the Fat Lane

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

More opinions at:
Reading Log
Christine's Review Blog


  1. Sounds like it would annoy me too. I wonder what the author's purpose was, creating a character who doesn't grow or change.

  2. Like Janet said, I wonder what the purpose was if the character didn't chage or grow. I would have expected more from the book. Too bad.

  3. Yeah, you're right...not a good message for that vulnerable group of readers. There's got to be a way this could've been resolved with some growth and change that wasn't too phony and obvious.

  4. It was very dismaying. Maybe she was trying to show a realistic depiction- sadly, I feel like a lot of teens would be like this, and not have a big attitude change coming out of the situation.

  5. Anonymous5/28/2009

    And here I thought that I was the only one who couldn't respect the protagonist of this book.


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