Life In The Fat Lane by Cherie Bennett

Thursday, May 13, 2010

"Which would you rather be, ugly or fat?"
"Ugly!" the kids all yelled.
"If you had to live your life without one arm or be fat, which would you pick?"
"One arm!" the kids yelled again.

"Which would you rather be, fat or dead?"

Genre: Young Adult
Synopsis: Lara Ardeche is perfect; a former beauty queen, and now, the homecoming queen. To top it all off, she has the perfect family, perfect boyfriend, and a really popular clique of friends. All of a sudden, she starts to gain weight. A lot of weight. Soon, she is pushing 200 pounds. "Desperate to get to-die-for body back, Lara tries everything. Diets. Pills. Starvation. Nothing works. And slowly, the world as she knows it begins to crumble. Who will stay by her side? Her image-conscious family? Her handsome boyfriend? Her shallow friends? Or will she be left alone in the land of the fat girls?"

Review: Here's the thing: This is an entertaining read. The premise is intriguing. The idea is interesting. Overall, it is well-written. I believed in it. I was never bored. I couldn't put the book down. I was curious the whole time to find out what happens next.

But here's where it gets confusi-- err... interesting.
At first glance, it's seems that the book wants its readers to realize that looks, popularity, perfection, and social standing are not everything; that what matters more is your personality and your inner beauty. Sounds good, right? However, what came off were two messages:
  • "If you gain weight, these are all the bad things that will happen to you."
  • "Enjoy your perfect life now. Be prepared to suffer later."
I'm serious.
The main character was shallow, conceited, and self-centered from beginning until the end. No development whatsoever. Sure, I sympathized with her situation, but I certainly couldn't empathize with someone like that. The entire book was devoted to her rants and complains. I mean, it seems like the whole story was completely immersed in a pool of negativity and hate! How am I supposed to like this exactly?

To tell you the truth, I am a bit offended by how this book was executed. If you would like to try it out, go ahead. I do believe it's still a worth a try. Like I said, it's really interesting and is generally a good read. But really, what I don't understand is the point of the story. What am I supposed to get out of it? Maybe it's just me. Maybe I just didn't get it.


  1. The book synopsis does sound interesting but if there is no positive message here and no growth of character, I would probably end up being disappointed with it. Thanks for the review!

  2. Hmm, that's really interesting. I have to say I would feel the same way about that issue. I'm always looking for message's in books (for the most part) even if they don't have any. It's funny though to have a book about shallow characters who don't change.

  3. @Simcha: I was very disappointed with it.. a bit offended too actually. I don't know. But thanks for reading :)

    @Lady Scribbles: I think the issue in this book is such a sensitive, that I felt like it was important that it was treated better. I just feel like with touchy and realistic subjects like that, it should be handled a little bit more delicately. The message was quite a negative one, imo, and like you, I try to at least look for a message in a book -- as subtle as it is.


    I loved this book. I found it very honest, and the main character Lara really did change as a result of meeting the piano teacher and the jazz singer. By the end of the book, she had moved from a place where fat people were to be pitied to a place where she was a fat girl and she had come to believe she was okay. That's character development!

  5. @Anonymous: Thank you for your comment, I appreciate it. I think I do see what you're saying though. She did change, in a way. She accepted herself and she herself was okay -- but the problem was, her thoughts and opinions about 'fat people' was still the same. I guess that's what I ultimately didn't like.


    This has been a great discussion. I think there is a proverb that says that the longest journeys start with a single step. Maybe this is the kind of book where the author wanted us to see all the preparation for that first step, where the girl comes to start to accept herself. Without accepting herself, she can't accept others. However, I do think that her attitude about her peers changed. Look at her friendship with the overweight teen musician, Perry. It took a long time to develop, but it was definitely there.