Cover image for Life in the fat lane
Life in the fat lane
Bennett, Cherie.
Personal Author:
[Large print edition].
Publication Information:
Thorndike, ME : Thorndike Press, 2000.

Physical Description:
351 pages ; 23 cm
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.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.0 9.0 28445.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Large Print

On Order



Having been a beauty queen with a to-die-for body, Lara's perplexed when her weight starts to balloon upwards. At first she blames it on her allergy medication, but finds that's not the reason. Dieting and exercise do nothing and she continues to gain. As her weight heads over 200 pounds, Lara begins to see life from the fat side as her social standing changes drastically. Old friends ostracize her, her parents' marriage fails and Lara earns the new nickname lard-ass in this chilling book about a teen's biggest nightmare.

Author Notes

Cherie Bennett was born in Buffalo, N.Y. She attended Wayne State University, and then the University of Michigan.

Cherie and her husband, Jeff Gottesfeld, often write on teen themes. They wrote the Trash series together, while Cherie authored the best-selling series Sunset Island. Cherie's fiction includes "Life in the Fat Land" and " Zink." Some of her other works include Girls In Love and Turn Me On. Her syndicated column, "Hey, Cherie!" appears in papers coast to coast. She is also one of America's finest young playwrights and a back-to-back winner of the Kennedy Center's "New Visions/New Voices" playwriting award. Cherie and Jeff also write under the pseudonymns C. J. Anders and Zoey Dean.

Cherie and Jeff live in Nashville and Los Angeles.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 6^-9. Lara Ardeche has it made: pretty, great boyfriend, queen of the prom. But when Lara starts inexplicably gaining weight--and eventually tops 200 pounds--she learns what it is like to be on the wrong side of the scale. The story reads like a TV movie of the week: when it starts, Lara is dreaming of becoming Miss America, but by the end of the year, she's twice her old size, most of her friends have disappeared, her parent's "perfect" marriage has dissolved, and her mother has made a feeble attempt at suicide. Lara doesn't gain her weight the old-fashioned way; her bulk-up is the result of a newly discovered metabolic syndrome (so new that there's no medicine for it). This device is hokey (and allows for Lara to start losing weight as the story concludes), but it does let the story concentrate on the weight gain rather than having to deal with underlying reasons for overeating. Kids (and that should really read girls) will probably not be bothered in the least by the story's predictability. Lara's angst about weight no doubt mirrors their own. Readers will be totally caught up in Lara's struggle to find her true self under all that weight, and perhaps they will learn the lesson that Lara does--there's much more to every girl than what can be seen with the naked eye. --Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up‘Lara, 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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



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. Excerpted from Life in the Fat Lane by Cherie Bennett All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.