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.
Household name Steel (Going Home) falls short of her best in her latest. 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. (Mar.)
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Showing 1-10 of the 11 most recent reviews
1 . Not great
Posted July 08, 2010 by Mel , BillingsI love D.S. but this was not one of her best books. I was so bored with it and had to struggle to finish it. Wouldn't recommend unless you have nothing better to read.
2 . I love reading about life stories
Posted June 12, 2010 by Shansummer , WhittierI enjoyed it so much I couldn't put the book down. It was exciting to see how Victoria dealt with her problems and how opinionated she was with her family, but the best part was the end, when the tables where turned around.
3 . Not worth it
Posted June 06, 2010 by micky , boston maNo depth to this book at all. I was waiting for it to become interesting and it never happened.
4 . Loved it!!!
Posted June 05, 2010 by Edna , Bronx, NYI read this book in 2 days. It hit home & I couldn't put it down. Big girls need love 2.
5 . Made me cry
Posted May 28, 2010 by Nena , Upstate NYIt was a great read i could not put it down.. I just finished it today..Makes you feel bad, happy, and cry all at the same time.
6 . Hit Home
Posted May 14, 2010 by Big Girl , Lansing areaI couldn't put this book down. It's was as if Danielle Steel had been watching my life. While this was not a typical Danielle Steel romance, I would highly recommend it for anyone that has had issues with weight and lack of family support. This book was well written and compelling.
7 . Not worth the money!!
Posted March 23, 2010 by Robin , New YorkAt only 243 pages this is practically a short story! If she is going to just "phone it in" maybe its time for Danielle Steel to retire.
8 . An easy read.
Posted March 14, 2010 by g camargo , hanfordI read this book in two days! I really enjoyed it. The subject matter was different. It was just a simple easy read.
9 . Really Really Bad
Posted March 12, 2010 by Nitenurse04 , Jacksonville FloridaI have not read a DS book in years, and now I remember why. Boring and predictable does not even begin to descibe how bad this book is. I feel like I was ripped off, I want my money back. I have no idea how DS got so popular, except that people must have very low standards.
10 . not one of her best
Posted March 06, 2010 by divadi , valencia paDanielle Steel is one of my favorite authors so I was very surprised to not have liked this book/ It was written like a childrens book. Also it was very repetitive and and was a hard read because it was so boring! I can sum it up in a few sentences. Chubby girl all her life rejected by her parents and men alike. Loved by her beautiful sister and finally finds her soul mate who loves her for herself. Do yourself a favor and skip this one. Please Danielle give us some more of your love stories and not a childrens book!
February 22, 2010
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