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Big Girl: A Novel [Hardcover]

Danielle Steel
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Hardcover, Feb. 23 2010 --  
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Book Description

Feb. 23 2010
In this heartfelt and incisive new novel, Danielle Steel celebrates the virtues of unconventional beauty while exploring deeply resonant issues of weight, self-image, sisterhood, and family. 

    A chubby little girl with blond hair, blue eyes, and ordinary looks, Victoria Dawson has always felt out of place in her family, especially in body-conscious L.A. Her father, Jim, is tall and slender, and her mother, Christina, is a fine-boned, dark-haired beauty. Both are self-centered, outspoken, and disappointed by their daughter’s looks. When Victoria is six, she sees a photograph of Queen Victoria, and her father has always said she looks just like her. After the birth of Victoria’s perfect younger sister, Gracie, her father liked to refer to his firstborn as “our tester cake.” With Gracie, everyone agreed that Jim and Christina got it right.

    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 sister. And though they couldn’t be more different in looks, they love each other unconditionally. But regardless of her accomplishments, Victoria’s parents know just what to say to bring her down. She will always be her father’s “big girl,” and her mother’s constant disapproval is equally unkind.

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, an act of stunning betrayal, and a family confrontation lead to a turning point.

Behind Victoria is a lifetime of hurt and neglect she has tried to forget, and even ice cream can no longer dull the pain. Ahead is a challenge and a risk: to accept herself as she is, celebrate it, and claim the victories she has fought so hard for and deserves. Big girl or not, she is terrific and discovers that herself.

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Product Details

Product Description


"A story for all sisters and slimmers!" Woman

About the Author

Danielle Steel has been hailed as one of the world’s most popular authors, with over 590 million copies of her novels sold. Her many international bestsellers include Southern Lights, Matters of the Heart, One Day at a Time, A Good Woman, Rogue, Honor Thyself, and other highly acclaimed novels. She is also the author of His Bright Light, the story of her son Nick Traina’s life and death.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Books and Good Prices Oct. 17 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was a great book by danielle steele..just to show u how being over weight can be a life long battle.....
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4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Steel! March 23 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this story.I love Danielle Steel because her books never disappoint.I start a book and do not put it down until I finish it.This was a heartwarming story about sisters bond.I would recommend it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Big Girl Feb. 5 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love all Danielle Steel books. They have such feeling and compassion. I would recommend them to all my lady friends. Big Girl was excellent.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars waste of money March 28 2011
Danielle Steel is one of those writers whose books are either very interesting and entertaining, or just forumla junk. Unfortunately, this book is of the latter. Being a "big girl", I can only wish my problem was 25 pounds, obviously the writer is one if she is 5lbs over, considers herself disgustingly fat. The main character lacks character. Okay, your parents didn't pay attention to you and thats why you moved across the country, so grow up and get over it. She goes to therapy for a number of years, but appears to get nothing out of it, as everytime something goes wrong, she eats ice cream. She talks about how toxic her parents are, but still gets upset when they say something nasty, not once does she ever confront them about her feelings. Do yourself a favor and bypass this one
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2.9 out of 5 stars  252 reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Embarrassing Sept. 7 2010
By AngeH - Published on
The following is written in the style of "Big Girl." If you think this is a great review, then you will LOVE the book.
Danielle Steele is a bestselling author. She writes books. She thinks of stories, and she writes them down. And then her publisher publishes them. Because she is an author who writes bestselling novels. She has been writing bestselling novels for years. Sometimes Danielle writes long novels and sometimes she writes shorter novels. Writing is what she does, and she loves it. Danielle loves writing down stories, and her publisher loves publishing them. And everyone makes TONS of money, because she is a bestselling author. She writes books, and she enjoys writing them.

Lately, Danielle has decided that while she still likes writing, it takes too long to write good books, and her readers don't care, anyway. She realizes that if she just bangs out a novel that has no plot, and just repeats the same two or three ideas over and over and over again, her readers will buy it. Because they will buy anything she writes. The fact is, Danielle is an author who writes bestselling novels for her readers, who are not very demanding. Why take the time and trouble to write a novel with well-drawn characters, interesting situations, good dialogue, or even a plot? Her readers will buy her books, regardless.

She tells her publishers her latest idea, about a girl who is a few pounds overweight, but her parents and sister are not. The girl wants to be a teacher. That's pretty much the whole book. They are delighted with this idea. They all agree that Danielle Steele readers will love this book about a girl who wants to be a teacher and struggles with her weight, while her parents don't. The girl in the book has a sister who also does not struggle with her weight. So the girl feels like an outsider. It would be different if the girl's mother or father or even her sister also struggled with their weight. But they don't. And the girl feels like she is different from them. And she wants to be a teacher and lose weight.

Danielle and her publishers all agree that this is a fine idea for a novel. Another thing they all agree is that when Danielle writes one of her novels, and they publish it, everyone makes tons of money, regardless of whether it is a long novel, or a short novel, both of which she enjoys writing. So they publish her latest plot-free book, and decide to call it "Big Girl."
I haven't read anything by Danielle Steele in a long time, but I have fond memories of some of her earlier work - dependably easy, breezy books with great stories and likeable characters. This will be the last time I ever pick up one of her books. She should be embarassed.
73 of 83 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Huge Disappointment Feb. 28 2010
By Patricia G. Cottrell - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Don't get me wrong; Ms. Steele is still writing books you want to read, just because it's DS -- the problem is that the storyline of this book was something that I can't imagine Ms. Steel even venturing into in 2010. To see women so subservient to their narcissitic mates, to allow cheating, to be verbally and emotionally abusive to your own child, isn't something I would have thought she'd write. I thought she was about the strong women while having problems that they overcome because of their strength and relationships. This one made me angry, not only because of the content (big people), but because she wasn't more of an advocate for the way these women are treated. It made me very sad to see that she wrote in this vein.

Again, because it's Danielle Steel, I read it, but was hugely disappointed in what I thought her viewpoint of this might be. She could have really had a voice in how parents treat their heavier children, or those that aren't perfection. Instead she continued to feed the disparity between the children, and allowed a mother, a woman (her primary audience) to be so manipulated and subservient to her husband. All she cared about was playing bridge and doing her husband's bidding, then treating her first born as though she were a non-person. The impact she could have made on the issues she covered would have been enormous, but instead the story continued along without her seeing what impact it had on what she and her narcissistic husband referred to as the "tester."

Our society looks at heavier (big) people in disgust, and she continued to feed into it, instead of making it better for the girl, I think the storyline made it worse. Big girl spent years in therapy and right up to the last page, DS didn't do anything to make the parents see and realize what they'd done to a daughter that didn't deserve it. The story could have been written with empathy, feeling and resolution, but instead, it continued on with the abusive parents being none the wiser.

The perfect child was given a lavish wedding that was probably in excess of $200,000 in cost, and was cheated on prior to the nuptials, and instead of being strong and standing up on her own, or having her parents stand beside her and with her with a different decision, it was swept under the rug and the wedding continued. What does that say? That it's all right to be cheated on, it's all right for you to accept it, because you're marrying money? Her parents knew and it was kind of like a "oh well...these things happen." Hell yeah they do, but any self respecting woman, regardless of what Mom and Dad said or thought, would have stood up for herself and said "this doesn't happen to me," and a good swift kick in the bridegrooms priviledged butt would have gone a very long way in sending the correct and moral message to all readers.

Because it was a Danielle Steel book, and because I read every book she writes, I read it, but my disappointment goes beyond the words I can convey. She could have made a difference, a real difference, but instead, for artistic reasons, chose to set us all back 50 years. Shame on her; I can only hope future books bring back the strong, independent and self-reliant women I've come to know through her stories. Thank you for reading my review.
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars painfully repetitive, one-dimensional characters, and outdated too March 20 2010
By Madar - Published on
Let me preface this by saying this is the first Danielle Steel book I've read, and I'm only about 100 pages into it. I don't know if I can finish it, but I am trying my hardest as it's a book club read.

I have no idea if she always writes like this, but this reads as I would imagine an "Idiot's Guide" does. There is no such thing as nuance, and if you didn't get it the first 10x she told you, don't worry; she'll tell you 10 more times...and that's just on the next page. It actually makes me angry to read it because I keep thinking, "How dumb does she think I am?"

As for the characters, they are incredibly one-dimensional (really, I'm a third through the book, and no one has learned anything new?) and outdated. It's 2010, and the mother in this book went to college and got a degree but could care less since she only wanted to snare a husband. Seriously? And she keeps telling her intelligent daughter that she shouldn't do things that look smart because boys don't like that. Again...seriously???

It's truly a painful read. I honestly think this is the worst book I've ever read, and there have been many books I haven't liked. Usually, I dislike them because I find them boring, slow, or just not my style. I've never happened upon something quite like this.

At the very least, wait on a library list for it. Do NOT waste you money.

ETA (1 month later): While it never got better for me, this book did inspire great book club discussion. Topics were sensitive touch points....It's too bad she didn't give the book the depth and intelligence it deserved.
79 of 92 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Steel & Publisher Should Be Embarrassed! March 15 2010
By LuvsLabs09 - Published on
I have heard that "popular" authors like Steel often have others help write their books. This must be the case with Steel. It is the only explanation for the constant and consistent repitition in her books over the last 7-10 years. There is no way an author could write 160 pages and say the same thing over and over, at least in my mind.

I find it interesteing the Steel has labeled this character "big", "fat", etc at a size 12-14. She describes Victoria as having "killer legs" yet is huge at a mere 20 pounds or so overweight. What planet is Steel from? She clearly has no concept of weight, size and clothing size.

The story is a waste of time, paper and ink. Nothing of interest is said or happens. Why I waste my time reading her books anymore is unknown. At least I am smart enough to get them from the library for FREE. I would NEVER buy a Steel book unless its her early work (back when quality writing and story telling were important to her).

SKIP THIS!!!!!!!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What is the point? April 25 2011
By E. Bird - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Danielle Steel is my mom's favorite author. She's also my cousin's favorite author. And apparently, she's many people's favorite author. I've tried giving her a go, but I just don't see how she can be anybody's favorite author. I keep reading her books, even though they bore me to tears, hoping that one day I will discover the reason why so many people seem to enjoy her books. But so far, I have failed to see the point.

Before I continue, let me say that so far, I'm only on page 145. I'll finish reading it, but I'm just about halfway through the book and it's so awful that I felt I should comment on it now.

First off, "Big Girl" is highly offensive if you, yourself, are a big girl. The way people talk to her, you would expect her to be in the Guinness Book of World Records for most overweight person or something along those lines. But she's really not. She's roughly 15 pounds overweight, give or take, depending on how well her "diet" works. She's in a size 12 to 16, also depending on her diet. She also has fabulous long legs. I'll come right out and say this - I am beyond a size 12 and I don't have people calling me fat and a "big girl", ever. I've had my moments of feeling self conscious & having some "fluff", sure, but I've never though of myself as being HUGE. Apparently, Danielle Steel, however, thinks that 15 extra pounds makes a big fat tank of a woman. Word of advice: Don't write about what it's like to be a big girl if you're not a big girl yourself, or have never been. Because this book is entirely unrealistic on that front. The character, Victoria, really is just a stereotype of fat women. But Victoria isn't fat, so it fails. You'll hear about Victoria constantly eating big tubs of ice cream and entire bags of cookies. As a bigger woman, I can attest and say that it's highly disappointing to read that. I've never once in all my life sat there and ate big tubs of ice cream or bags of cookies because I was depressed and/or stressed out. I just find Victoria's character to actually be offensive to big girls rather than inspiring.

Second of all, there is one common theme among all her books that I've read so far, and this book follows suit. Each page basically says the same thing the previous page said, but in different words. She is extremely repetitious in her writing and it's really quite boring and annoying.

There is absolutely no depth to any of these characters. In this book, Victoria is an English teacher (I also really hate how Danielle Steel keeps referring to it as 'teaching school' because of course Victoria is going to teach at a school.), and Victoria preaches to her students that she needs to fall in love with the writer and/or characters because they need to be made to seem real. Danielle fails to do this. Her characters seem like robots, really. When I read a book I like (and I like a lot of books, really, I'm not that picky and I'm pretty easy to entertain, but this is ridiculous), I am usually extremely upset when the book is over because I DID fall in love with the characters, but with Danielle Steel, I can't wait to finish. I feel no connection to any of the characters. It's very disappointing, especially with this book, since I'm supposed to feel inspired by Victoria.

There also seems to be a lack of plot. I don't even know how to comment on this because there's really no plot for me to talk about.

I guess I just felt that such a beloved author would be capable of producing at least halfway decent stories, but I have been disappointed each time I decide to give her books a shot. In every book, the characters are week. The plot is non-existent. There is a huge lack of purpose. And this time, the character is extremely offensive.

I only suggest you pick this book up if you have a problem falling asleep -- this book is so boring, reading it will guarantee that you'll fall asleep in no time.
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