Big Girl

Honestly I haven't picked up a Danielle Steel in years. I was quite frankly surprised to find new Steel books on the shelf.  One would think she would have retired by now.

Heroine Victoria is the ugly duckling born to the fairy princess family. She's too big, too plain and too loud to ever fit in with the beautiful and sleek Dawson clan. Worse she's told she's too big, too loud and too plain- all the time.

Back of the Book:
A chubby little girl with ordinary looks, Victoria Dawson has always felt out of place in her family, especially in body-conscious L.A. While her parents and sister can eat anything and not gain an ounce, Victoria must watch everything she eats, as well as endure her father’s belittling comments about her body and see her academic achievements go unacknowledged. Ice cream and oversized helpings of all the wrong foods give her comfort, but only briefly. The one thing she knows is that she has to get away from home, and after college in Chicago, she moves to New York City. Landing her dream job as a high school teacher, Victoria loves working with her students and wages war on her weight at the gym. Despite tension with her parents, Victoria remains close to her younger sister, Grace. Though they couldn’t be more different in looks, they love each other unconditionally. So when Grace announces her engagement to a man who is an exact replica of their narcissistic father, Victoria worries about her sister’s future happiness, and with no man of her own, she feels like a failure once again. As the wedding draws near, a chance encounter, a deeply upsetting betrayal, and a family confrontation lead to a turning point.

My Thoughts:
Look everyone knows you're going to hit it out of the park every single time you perform. Don't baseball players average a hit like 30% of the time. Authors are no different. You can't be as prolific a writer as a Danielle Steel and not have a stinker or twelve. One of two things could have possibly happened with this book. Either as many people suspect- she's having someone else write her books now or she tried to tackle a topic she knows nothing about and fell on her face.

Big Girl should have been fantastic. The subject matter was one we all like to read about. Poor little overweight girl is abused by her family until she finally takes control of her life and emerges the winner. But it wasn't fantastic- it was terrible. Thank God this wasn't Steel's first book- she never would have had her wonderful career.

Family's one-dimensional. The storyline is repetitive, monotonous and vaguely condescending.  Truly the book would have made more sense had she rolled the timeline back 25 years. In the fifties, sixties and even early  seventies it would have been believable that her mother went to college only to land a man. I didn't think people even played bridge any longer. Certainly not people under the age of 65.

I think probably was the most disappointing aspect of the book was the shallowness and weakness of the main character. Despite the many years of counseling, she never grows emotionally, never comes into her own as a person. You want Victoria to succeed, to stand up for herself, to stand up to her parents. She never does. Here she is - a smart, successful woman with a great education, job, apartment in New York, and awesome friends and everything is always Woe is Me, I'm Fat. I hate to tell you this but even fat people are happy sometimes. I assume or else we'd have a lot less fat people in the world. Victoria never once deals with any of her issues. Instead she gets a nose job and then a new boyfriend. Who stands up for her at a family event. Yeah- rescued by a man- lovely messaging there. Way to roll back the woman's movement by about 40 years.

Hey- can you tell I didn't like this book? I know-subtle.


Lisa R/alterlisa said...

Honestly, if asked, I'd have thought she was no longer writing. So I went to Fantastic Fiction (my go to for book info) and saw that she was releasing two or three books a year. Okay, this is like discovering a brand new author for me. Off to see how far back I've got to go to get caught up on her books.


alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com



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