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Sunday December 15, 2013 MYT 6:47:00 PM
Sunday December 15, 2013 MYT 9:39:47 AM
By KARYN ANNE KRISHNAN
THE first few pages had me itching to slam the book shut. It’s a story of a heavyset woman who seems to be so repulsive that the man sitting next to her on the airplane thinks to himself:
“Why do I always get the old lady, the drunk guy or the fat chick?”
At times, I couldn’t be sure if writer Stephanie Evanovich’s views on size and weight were overbearing or if she was being honest. It made me wonder: Is this really h ow people think? Even when lead character Holly Brennan loses weight and gets fit (though not skinny fit), the body shaming continues.
Recently widowed and in her early 30s, Brennan has filled the void left by losing her husband with food – and because she was always on the heavy side, her insatiable appetite now makes things worse. Then she meets celebrity fitness trainer Logan Montgomery who thinks he is a godsend to women – and the women in this book concur, including Brennan, which, quite frankly, irritated me.
Logan, the man repulsed by Brennan on the plane, decides to offer his services as a personal trainer, thinking she would never be able to afford his normal rate. Boy, is he wrong! Brennan, you see, married into money, and not because she was looking for it. It was just her luck that her late husband was the first person with whom she found comfort and security.
Vulnerable and in need of a change – it’s been two years since the funeral – Brennan accepts Logan’s offer and begins her lifechanging process, which is both poignant (though I use this word rather loosely) and inspiring. And when Logan finds out how wealthy she is, it’s a huge slap in his face, which was pretty satisfying to read!
It comes as no surprise that these two are meant for each other. And Logan’s transition from pity to respect for and, soon, infatuation with Brennan moves smoothly.
But sooner than you would think, he pounces on her like a sailor on leave. And what does the now strong and independent Brennan do? She allows it! The writer seems to imply that your outer appearance might change, but not your emotional value and self-esteem.
Big Girl Panties is a breeze to get through and is a surprisingly fun and witty read, although the transitions between characters can be confusing at times.
The writer switches between he-said-she-said dialogue and monologues within the same page, which works in the slower and more intimate moments.
But it gets confusing when more than two people are involved.
Aside from the occasional dialogue misfire, Evanovich paces her writing well, so that the body-shami ng picture in Logan’s eyes fades toward the end of the book.
But even finishing the book brought no answer to my question: Is this book on size and weight an exaggeration or does it depict the reality of the situation? I supp ose my main take away from this light read is to be more aware of body sham ing in my own world.
Evanovich does satisfy with Brennan ultimately finding independence; and the writer even manages to make Mr Godsend likable halfway into the book.
Oh, and Evanovic doesn’t stinge on the cliches either, bringing the love story full circle towards the end, so the reader can clearly see how far the characters have come.
What really got me excited was the anticipation of the titular phrase showing up throughout the entire read. The writer waits for the precise moment to throw in this phrase, which is what caught my attention on its cover in the first place, and she couldn’t have timed it better.
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Big Girl Panties, Stephanie Evanovich, book review
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