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Life in the Fat Lane

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3.50  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,937 Ratings  ·  199 Reviews
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 know
...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published July 13th 1999 by Laurel Leaf (first published 1998)
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Wintergirls by Laurie Halse AndersonJust Listen by Sarah DessenPerfect by Natasha FriendIdentical by Ellen HopkinsKeeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen
YA Eating Disorder Fiction
10th out of 124 books — 428 voters
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow RowellDumplin' by Julie   MurphyThe DUFF by Kody Keplinger45 Pounds by K.A. BarsonFat Angie by E.E. Charlton-Trujillo
Plus-Size YA Heroines
32nd out of 92 books — 90 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Teresa
Dec 19, 2008 Teresa rated it it was ok
Okay, the only reason this book is getting two stars is because it kept me entertained enough to keep turning the pages, but having said that, I pretty much hated this book. I've read a lot of fat books in my day, and this is the first one where I was left completely uninspired. There was no humor, no irony, and really no message at all. I really don't like the idea of teenage girls reading this book, because either way I think this book could actually egg on the stereotype that girls are only v ...more
lanie
Aug 18, 2010 lanie rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karla
Jun 28, 2009 Karla rated it it was ok
Thi sbook was just okay. I was looking for a good message for YA about weight but was disappointed. The main character starts out at 115 or something and gains 100 pounds. Now while that is a drastic weight gain in 1 year, I couldn't get past the fact that this 5'7" character topped out at 218 and yet was described as enduring torturous teasing and stares, couldn't fit into the movie theatre seat and was in essence some huge tub of lard. This is just so unrealistic. I am 5'5" 200 pounds and am n ...more
Madeline Haut
Mar 04, 2012 Madeline Haut rated it really liked it
This book kept me reading until the very last page. I was interested in finding out the reason for the title and the reason did surprise me. I was expecting a girl who considered herself overweight and had an eating disorder but this book was the opposite which had me interested. At first though, I felt sorry for Lara because of this disease but as the book went on I did sadly loose sympathy for her because she became rude and degrading against other larger people. This novel made me really thin ...more
Laura (Booksforbreakfast)
I remember reading this over and over when in high school. I related with Lara so much and felt a connection with her. I decided to read it again and felt the same way, if not more now that I’m older.

There is something about the writing in this book that is very captivating and made it very hard for me to put the book down. It was hard for me to empathize with Lara at first because she does has a bratty attitude, but looking at her life and what happened to her, I can’t say I blame her.

Ultimate
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Emily Benoit
Concept/Ideas: 5/5
Characters: 3.5/5
Storyline/Plot: 5/5
Overall Rating 5/5 stars

Wow, this book was amazing. This book actually being a reprint of an older version published in 1998, Ive never heard of this book. I loved it from page one, to the very end. The plot was very original. Who would have ever thought someone would write a novel about a BEAUTY QUEEN ending up being the one to be the "fat girl" in high school. Exactly. Very original in my opinion.

The book was very well paced, and I read th
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Tabitha Olson
May 09, 2010 Tabitha Olson rated it did not like it
Shelves: recent-reviews
While this book brought up some very good issues about how terrible overweight people are treated, I found it preachy and many times got irritated with Lara's whining.

I can understand that she's feeling sorry for herself because she used to be a beauty queen and now she's one hundred pounds overweight. But I don't want to read that same thing a zillion times, right up to the end of the book. It made me lose sympathy for Lara, and by the end of the book I thought she was a stuck up brat. I also
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Stephanie A.
Wow, lots of angry reviews. I reread it today just to make sure, but my original opinion stands. This book did a great job of showing how it feels to go from thin and gorgeous to hopelessly overweight (and from Molly on the side, you also get what it's like being the overweight friend of someone much slimmer). The idea of succumbing to a disease where you literally cannot stop gaining weight adds an extra layer of horror, while making you grateful that at least you don't have that problem.

Lara
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Natalie
May 27, 2012 Natalie marked it as gave-up-on
I'm tempted to put this in the "read" section because I came quite close to finishing this, but when it started to get cringe-worthy (and when it was almost due to the library) I decided to put it away. Far away.

I guess I just don't quite get the point of this book. Our heroine is supposed to be this effervescent, extremely nice character, yet she comes off as incredibly shallow, irritating and ignorantly snarky.

For the first couple chapters, all we do is obsess whether Lara will win prom queen
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Esther
May 28, 2008 Esther rated it it was ok
I thought this book partially illustrates the society's obsession with appearances and how it's affecting women all around the world.
Life in the Fat Lane is about a teenage prom queen who seems to have it all. Suddenly, she rapidly gains weight and tips the scale to an unbearable number, motivating her to do whatever it takes to return to her original figure. It doesn't help that her mother, who is also thin-obsessed, pressures her daughter to lose weight and gives dieting method advice to her
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Andreina
Sep 19, 2012 Andreina rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Noone
I don't like this book. I just don't like it! When I first picked this book up I thought it was about a girl who's been fat her entire life and decided to do something about it. But it was about this perfect girl, popular, beauty queen. She's nice to people and all that, although she doesn't say it I felt like she thought she was better looking than the rest or even better in general. Now, not everything is negative about her. I like her confidence. But I feel like I wasted my time, because I us ...more
Diana
Oct 31, 2012 Diana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're thin and you read this, I'm not sure if this will be comic relief or what... But if you're fat and you read this it will be painful. Very painful. Would you rather be stupid or fat? Stupid, yell the children! Would you rather be ugly or fat? Ugly, yell the children.

Lara is the perfect girl who suddenly starts gaining weight for apparently no reason at all. She discovers that it could be because of an incurable disease but her family and social life begin to unravel as she gets fatter a
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Maryam_a_140a513
Jan 19, 2014 Maryam_a_140a513 rated it it was amazing
A perfect example of how someone’s life can get turned upside down in a matter of days. Beautifully written in a way that is relatable to all teenagers and young adults, Life in the Fat Lane displays how a girl presumed to have a perfect life, a perfect boyfriend, a perfect family, popularity equivalent to Britney Spears, and winning homecoming queen can be taken away with the blink of an eye. The author, Cherie Bennett, tackles a huge contentious issue that many individuals have suffered and co ...more
BookConsumedTeen
Life in the Fat Lane was an okay read in my opinion. Personally I was not a big fan of the main character simply because despite her struggles she was still a very vain and shallow individual which I thought would have changed.Even towards the end of the book I was very optimistic that Lara Ardeche would see how horrible her mindset had been at the start of the novel ,and then towards the very end I disappointed with the simple fact that this characters mindset never truly changed other than her ...more
Meg
Aug 09, 2016 Meg rated it did not like it
I originally read this book when i was very young and then promptly forgot all about it. When i was 17, i went through a similar experience as the main character- mine was due to a side effect of an antidepressant I was taking at the time and i went from a very naturally thin girl to gaining over 100 lbs. I'm now 22 and have discovered self love and body positivity. When i stumbled on this book in my basement I only vaguely remembered it and decided to give it another read. A few chapters in, I ...more
Aimee
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rose
Sep 06, 2014 Rose rated it did not like it
When I read this book, I was 13 and in a bad yo-yoing phase to the extent of going from 130 to 200 lbs in less than 6 months.

This book was bought for comfort and hopes of it being relatable.

I think I would've been better off without it at the time. The main character, Lara is popular, pretty and very confident. She starts gaining weight, and BOOOOM! Most of her friends stop talking to her, guys who used to flirt with her laugh at her, and even her seemingly nice boyfriend is not all he looked t
...more
Hylary Locsin
Oct 03, 2011 Hylary Locsin rated it liked it
Originally posted on my blog: http://libraryladyhylary.blogspot.com ! Check it out for more reviews!

Junior in high school, Lara Ardeche, has the perfect life. Beautiful, popular and thin, Lara has spent her life competing in and winning beauty pageants. Her beautiful, thin mother and handsome father adore her, as does her cool boyfriend Jett and her best friend, Molly. Lara's life becomes even better when she is elected homecoming queen, despite the fact that she's just a junior. In the months f
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Alexa
Mar 23, 2010 Alexa added it
Reading the book "Life in the Fat Lane" by Cherie Bennett I learned it is a book that can connect to a girl's everyday life. Lara Ardeche is your ordinary girl,just like us she goes through stress to become her perfect self.Many girls in America currently face the pressures to be as thin as possible. By dieting,exercising and possibly obtaining a disease,everyday women try to overcome their idea of being fat or overweight. In this book, Lara is your perfect beauty pageant teenager until her lif ...more
Marie
Oct 07, 2013 Marie rated it liked it
I read this book because I saw it in Mrs. Lapacka's library last year, and I gave it another chance over the summer. This book is about a girl named Lara Ardeche, who lived a glamorous life. Her life was perfect, until she was diagnosed with Axell-Crowne disease that made her gain weight, and everything started to fall apart. My favorite quote in the story was, "I wasn't perfect. But I was okay." I found this quote really inspirational, because even though Lara lost almost everything, she accept ...more
706sarah
Mar 19, 2012 706sarah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 7th-grade-books
This book was so amazing i literally could not put it down!! I think that Lara taught me a very valuable lesson through her long journey, that is still not yet over. This lesson was, no one is ever perfect, and sometimes being happy is much better than being skinny. Popular girls may think of themselves as perfect, but that's either because they have amazing hair or amazing bodies. NO BODY IS EVER PERFECT!
I felt horrible for Lara throughout his whole book, and i just wanted to know if her diseas
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Shelley
Oct 31, 2014 Shelley rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, fiction, fat
I read this like 10 years ago and I remember that the main character gets some sort of disease that causes her to gain a lot of weight. Until this, she was always really into her thin body, and once went up to a stranger in a public restroom and offered her diet tips. So now people are coming up to her and giving her diet tips, so she has to learn to be “different” and makes new alternative friends who hang out in a jazz club, because she can’t be popular anymore. And I remember that after we re ...more
Melissa He
Jun 12, 2011 Melissa He rated it it was amazing
I liked this book a lot. It was really sad how the main character went from a beauty pageant queen, to an overweight teenage outcast. It wasn't really fair for her because her obesity was caused by a mysterious condition. To me, I could really connect with her when she transferred to a new school, and everyone there made fun of her for the way she looked. Even her family wanted to hide her from the public, and she felt so upset that she kept taking laxatives and suffered every night, with tears ...more
Sarah Tilatitsky
Nov 29, 2010 Sarah Tilatitsky rated it really liked it
It's really four and a half stars, really. This book talks about bullying and fattness, which isn't really that great, but it's no joke. It is now one of my favorite books, because I have a few pounds on me, and, well, with my face, my chubbiness, shortness and a high-pitched voice that no one seems to hear, it HURTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Look, I'm glad that she lost her weight, but I'm glad that she finally knew what it is like ...more
Laila
(page 1 to 100)
November 15, 2014

I have only read the first chunk of the book but I'm already seeing potential themes in the book, like how friends can be a lot of pressure and affect the way we think. Lara is skinny as first, a pageant queen, but then starts to gain because of a medical condition. As her best friend is large, she begins to realize how she felt. After Lara is called out multiple times for gaining weight she starts to think of herself poorly. All of her friends and family put pres
...more
Angie Fehl
Sixteen year old Nashville, TN teen Lara Ardeche is pretty, popular, and has been well acquainted with the beauty pageant circuit for most of her life. She even has the perfect, hot boyfriend and is pretty much a shoe-in for becoming the next homecoming queen. Life is perfect. Except that her entire self-worth is built around her looks. This perfect life takes a drastic shift the night of the homecoming dance, when Lara sees some of her popular friends picking on the high school's resident "fat ...more
Brianna Peterson
Jun 24, 2015 Brianna Peterson rated it it was ok
Personally, I downloaded this book on my Nook to read because I have had trouble keeping weight off and I despise the thoughts of feeling like a porky pig. However, as far as Lara Ardeche and her family is concerned, they have got it real bad. Before Lara became overweight, she acted real self-conceited towards some of her peers. But then once she gained weight, she had a clue as far as what was really going on right in front of her. For the record, Lara's little brother Scott had one hell of a ...more
Suzie Bookgirl
Apr 30, 2015 Suzie Bookgirl rated it liked it
Shelves: teen-fiction
Lara has it all, the perfect life. She is popular, she is beautiful, she has a fantastic boyfriend and friends, she wins beauty pageants, her family are perfect and she is thin. Then everything changes. Lara gains weight and there is no real explanation. She tries everything to lose weight but as she gets bigger her whole world crumbles. She finds out first hand what it is like to be the fat kid at school and she discovers that the rest of her world was not so perfect either. This was an interes ...more
Sophie
Jan 12, 2015 Sophie rated it it was ok
I loved the idea of this book, but absolutely hated the execution. I've never felt so ashamed of my own body than I did when I was reading this book; pretty much all the way through it fat shames. I may be missing a point to the grand scheme of this book, but either way I didn't like it and wouldn't recommend.
Christine Grant
Oct 11, 2012 Christine Grant rated it it was amazing
I have read this book and listened to the audio a few times. The book follows a teenage girl who goes from being beautiful and skinny to overweight through no fault of her own. This is another story about beauty being more than skin deep and society's reaction to women and their weight.
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A popular novelist, playwright, and newspaper columnist, Cherie moves effortlessly from genre to genre, writing powerful and entertaining work, whether in literary hardcover teen fiction, mass market paperback fiction, for the stage, film and television, and for her nationally-syndicated teen advice column.
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