Big Girl

6 Mar

Big Girl by Danielle Steel, 2010

Big Girl

Remember when you were young and Danielle Steel books were considered somewhat risqué? I mean, she was no Virginia Andrews – and definitely no Jackie Collins – but her novels were always filled with forbidden passion, wealthy characters, and melodrama galore. How grown-up!

But any youngsters who happen across Steel’s Big Girl will be sadly disappointed… unless, of course, they find much excitement in  ridiculously repetitive books that feature a girl who has troubles with her weight. Yep, that’s the story: the main character, Victoria, has always been chubby, and now that she’s in her late 20s she can’t go ONE GODDAMN PAGE WITHOUT BITCHING ABOUT IT. Sure, there are some other bits thrown in: an impossibly gorgeous sister called Gracie who’s Getting Married To The Wrong Man, a love interest, and a job as a teacher. But these are just devices that allow Victoria to moan about her battle with her weight, because who needs to actually have some kind of plot when you can just detail a binging/dieting cycle, ammiright?! 

Gracie had basked in their parents’ praise all her life, because she was an accessory that enhanced them. And because Victoria was different, she had been emotionally starved by them. (I see what you did there, Danielle – way to work in the food thing! Smooth.)

I know I shouldn’t have expected much – after all, Big Girl comes from an author who publishes, on average, a book every four months. She doesn’t have time to delve into issues, dammit! This girl is big because she was born big, and her parents don’t love her as much as they adore her wonderful sister, which makes her eat herself happy, so she sees a therapist about it, and that’s all you need to know. Oh, and she has great legs. That’s mentioned about every 10 pages or so. And she has amazing friends, a fab apartment, holidays all over the place, guys who want to date her… but her weight! Remember how she ate that whole pizza for dinner? She’s just too big!

“What are your goals?”
“Get skinny and have a life. Meet a man who loves me, and whom I love too.” She had gained weight on the trip, and wanted to lose it over the rest of the summer.

When Danielle Steel wrote about this book on her blog she said that it was about inner beauty, and that “we’re all beautiful in some way”. And yes, I get what she was trying to do with it, I get that this was supposed to be about finding peace with your body no matter what, blah blah blah. I just didn’t want to be force-fed the message over and over and over again. Excuse me while I purge this from my memory.

And Victoria was so upset, she ate a full plate of pesto pasta, and the entire basket of bread.

Read it if you want to despair in the crap that gets published by popular authors, or to feel better about the fact that you only think about your weight 70% of the time.

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