Meet Victoria Dawson, heroine of Big Girl by Danielle Steel. The firstborn child, she grows up feeling out of place in her family because of her fair hair and thicker build. While the rest of her family is dark haired and thin, Victoria is blond, blue-eyed and according to her father, has his grandmother’s ‘big’ build. Victoria puts up with her father’s thinly-veiled barbs while her mother constantly drops weight remarks. Meanwhile her parents dote on the younger sister Grace, as she is beautiful and thin. Victoria and Grace form a strong sisterly bond despite the family tension.
Victoria goes to college at Northwestern, then later becomes a private high school teacher in New York City. She is aware that she often overeats – especially when things go wrong – but she doesn’t know what to do about it. She tries therapy, hypnosis and one diet after another with little results other than gaining and losing the same weight over and over. Until finally she meets the man of her dreams and the weight starts coming off…
This was one of those classic “overweight girl tries to lose weight, is unsuccessful until she meets a man who makes her feel whole” kind of novels. It is at least mildly painful to read about Victoria’s constant dealings with ‘fat girl’ stereotypes and watch as her parents put her down constantly. Unfortunately (SPOILER ALERT!!!) she never stands up to them, although the love of her life does eventually. I was disappointed with the ending because it seems like she learned nothing other than that she is a great person only because she has a wonderful man to tell her so. (Seems like there is very little personal development for the character!)
The writing in this story is extremely redundant (the author repeats the same thing over and over) and the characters were seemingly one-dimensional. I would have rated this book 2 stars, however, I am a sucker for ‘dieting lit’ kind of chick lit novels and I did manage to get through the entire book.
Overall, Big Girl by Danielle Steel turned out to be a mostly ‘OK’ read. I would recommend waiting for it to come out in paperback or getting it at your local library, however, as the hardcover edition is pretty pricey.
Reviewed by Rian Montgomery