Kendally (emoxlame) wrote in ed_ucate,

Book review: Life In The Fat Lane by Cherie Bennett

Summary: The fictional first-person POV story of Lara Ardeche, a 16 year old beauty queen who is on her way to becoming Miss America. Her life is perfect, she has a perfect family, friends, boyfriend, body. After she wins Homecoming, she gets weird allergy attacks, and is put on a drug which causes her to gain some weight. Soon she begins to gain more weight, and along with developing some eating disordered behaviours, finds out that she is suffering from a rare [and thankfully fictional!] metabolic disorder in which the body becomes super-efficient and gains weight even on a diet of next to nothing.

My thoughts: The start was the worst part of this book for me, just because she seems like such a typical Southern teenager X( However, as the story goes on she starts to realise that none of her apparently perfect life was perfect, and she starts to become more of a 'real' person. This book was triggering in several ways, as there is incessant talk of numbers [she goes from under 120 to over 210] exercising, dieting, etc. But as it goes on, it conveys well how weight does not really matter, and the best people are often not the thinnest.

Strangely enough, it's taken a lapse into COE and significant weight gain for me to fully appreciate this book. I used to think it wasn't very good, but reading it again recently, I changed my mind.

"I gained more weight. Photos of the thin me mocked me. I mourned for my old self the way you mourn for a lost loved one. And sometimes, when I got really sad, I ate. And then I'd hate myself. Which made me want to eat even more, just to numb the pain.
With every pound I gained, I was filled with an ever growing, impotent rage. Some monster was swelling up inside me, making me get fatter and fatter."

"Zillions of girls binge and purge, or swallow hundreds of laxatives, or starve themselves so much that they turn into walking skeletons. Because everyone knows that anything is better than being fat. Anything."

"'But you hate that you're fat.'
'So? Don't you?'
'No,' Suzanne said. 'I used to. I just tell myself I missed my era. This thin obsession is a very modern American thing. I mean, I heard Mae Eest weighed like two hundred pounds.'
'That's disgusting,' I said.
'Why?' Suzanne asked. 'Just because they say it's so doesn't make it so.'
'Who are "they"?'
'The billion-dollar diet industry,' she said. 'Every year the standard of beauty gets more unattainable, and every year they make more money.'"

"'If you ask a thin girl with no talent or brains if she'd rather be her or you, she'll pick her. Skinny girls who chain-smoke four packs of cigarettes a day would rather get lung cancer than get fat. Being fat is the worst thing in the world. Everyone knows it...'"

"And then I stopped, mid prayer. The last time I had prayed this way was when I was afraid that my mother woiuld die. And I'd prayed to God that I'd do anything that time, too, if only my mother would live.
How could being thin be as important to me as my mother's life? How could it?"

"'...He was always after me to lose weight. He'd told me I was fat and ugly so many times that when I looked in the mirror, I saw fat and ugly looking back.'"

All in all, I'd recommend it if you think you would be able to avoid succumbing to the negative triggers.

EDIT: Way to screw up simple HTML, Kendal.

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