Sunday, 24 April 2011

Book ~ "Big Girl" (2011) Danielle Steel

From Amazon ~ Victoria Dawson has always felt like an outcast. When her little sister Grace is born, father Jim tells Victoria she was the tester cake and they finally got it right with the beautiful Gracie. Victoria grows up in her sister's shadow and though she loves Gracie dearly, she's anxious to leave home. The pain doesn't stop there, though. Her father calls her first job at a prestigious private school in Manhattan pathetic and Victoria begins a battle with her weight and her belief that she is unlovable (even though men pursue her). The premise of the story is sound but it doesn't ring true: the parents are two-dimensional cruel monsters and Victoria seems to have everything: fantastic job, amazing apartment, perfect best friends. It's hard to believe that her parents would still wield such power. Steel barely grazes the surface of an important topic but it's not reality that has positioned her at the top of bestseller lists.

I haven't read a Danielle Steel novel in about 20 years. A friend read it recently and said it was okay so I thought I'd check it out. It seemed like an interesting story, different from Steel's usual formula.

This story had so many possibilities ... it's a topic that most women today deal with. But Steel didn't do a good job with it ... it was very superficial.

Victoria's parents were horrible. Her dad was an A-hole and her mother was a wimp. Her dad kept reminding her that men don't like fat girls. At her heaviest, Victoria had 25 pounds she wasn't happy with ... the way her parents went on and on and on, you'd think she was at least 1000 pounds overweight.

Her mother kept reminding her that men don't like smart women. The reason her mother and sister went to college was to find a husband. In this day and age, my reaction was "Really??!! Are you serious??!!" What reality is Steel living in?

Victoria was surprised that Grace and her boyfriend had gotten engaged without asking their father's permission first. Really??!! Are we back in the 1800s?

The writing is very repetitive ... we are constantly reminded over and over and over and over:
  • Boys don't like fat girls
  • Boys don't like smart girls
  • Victoria was named after Queen Victoria because she was so ugly
  • Victoria looked like her ugly fat great grandmother
  • Victoria was a tester cake and they got the batter right with Grace
It wasn't until Victoria was 30 and finally happy with a boyfriend that she could stand up to her dad's rude comments. Up until that point, she took it when her fatherly continually put her down about her weight, her "spinsterhood" and that she was just a lowly teacher. As she got older, Grace became a spoiled bitch to her and Victoria took it. I thought it was too bad that Victoria couldn't stand up to them on her own, even though she'd been seeing a therapist for years. She needed a man to validate her worth.

If you are a Danielle Steel fan, you'll probably enjoy it ... I didn't.


Feisty Crone said...

I haven't read Danielle Steel in 20 years either, and I won't try this one!

Cindy said...

It's probably been at least 20 years since I read a Danielle Steel, I find them TOO superficial.
Happy Easter!
Hugs, Cindy

Way Out Wear said...

Thanks for the review, I won't be wasting my time on that book!

Julie said...

I read this book last fall and hated it! I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed the negative repetitions.

JCB said...

Not a huge Danielle Steele fan myself. I went to the library today and picked up SEVEN new books though :)

Anonymous said...

What libelous nonesense are you talking about?.. I ain't a Daniel Steel's fan but I would like to give justice for such wonderful book.
You dont see the beauty and mystery of the book because you have no idea of what its like being different or being neglected. You should try to consider other's, this blog can influence aspiring readers. The book is absolutely not a waste of time, it's a life touching and a heart-warming story.. don't try to oppose if you don't understand. You are making Life complicated!!!!

Authors 4 Characters said...

AMEN!!! I heard the first ten minutes of the cd and wondered when the book had been written.

Sadly, though, there ARE still women like Victoria Dawson's mother in the world. Women who WILL put up with abusers (verbal and/ or physical) because, for reasons known only to God and Dr. Phil, they think it's better to have someone in their life, no matter how they're treated by that significant other.

At the end of the day, Victoria had to have a man to stand up for her, against her father. She couldn't stand up for herself. And Victoria's sister, Grace, didn't even see, in the guy she was going to marry, the same sort of self-absorbed manipulator her father was. I shudder to think how their kid would turn out.

I DO agree with one statement, though. Potential parents, with pre-conceived notions of what they want their kids to be, should NOT have kids. Good grief, it didn't dawn on them that there were TWO genders for a baby? A good shrink could retire on Danielle Steele's issues. (Though I HOPE I'm WRONG about that!)