Goodreads rating: 2/5
Synopsis: “Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich is a rollicking and poignant romantic comedy about a young widow who decides to get in shape…and winds up getting her groove back–and a whole lot more! Holly Brennan used food to comfort herself through her husband’s illness and death. Now she’s alone at age thirty-two. And she weighs more than she ever has. When fate throws her in the path of Logan Montgomery, personal trainer to pro athletes, and he offers to train her, Holly concludes it must be a sign. Much as she dreads the thought of working out, Holly knows she needs to put on her big girl panties and see if she can sweat out some of her grief. Soon, the easy intimacy and playful banter of their training sessions lead Logan and Holly to most intense and steamy workouts. But can Holly and Logan go the distance as a couple now that she’s met her goals–and other men are noticing?“
Starting Points: I picked up this book because I was in the mood for a nice chic flick. As a huge fan of Stephanie’s aunt (Janet Evanovich, author of the amazing Stephanie Plum series), I figured I couldn’t go wrong with this book.
In regards to books where the main character is a “bigger” guy or girl, in my opinion it is always nice to see some diverse representation. While most books that showcase the “fat” character story line revolve around how they feel about their weight, I find it is still better to have these books than no representation at all. However, the problem comes from how the subject matter is dealt with, but there are plenty of authors who do so beautifully (e.g. Meg Cabot’s Heather Wells series, “Size 12 is not Fat”). More on that later. Even if a bigger character starts off a bit down due of their weight, I think it’s still a worthy story to be shared because there is often someone out there who can relate to it.
What I liked:
- Holly is a character who is beyond determined. While she faces great turbulence, it is amazing to see how strong she is and how she perseveres in the face of a good challenge.
- The book has quite a lot of steamy scenes, which I can always appreciate in a chick lit. These scenes are graphic enough to give you a clear picture of where hands may have been and who kissed who where and in what order. Trust me, you will get a play by play. If that’s your thing, you’ll have a good time.
- If you like “makeover/transformation” a la Pretty Woman, Clueless or The Princess Diaries, this could be for you.
- Stephanie Evanovich’s writing style is accessible, and it flows very nicely. She can deliver good one liners and is able to transition between happy/sad/steamy scenes quite well; nothing feels too abrupt.
What I didn’t like (SPOILERS AHEAD)
- As expected from the title, the book revolves solely on Holly’s weight and how her happiness and success are a reflection of how many pounds she can lose.
- The main male character is, for lack of better word, a big douchebag. Logan spends a good part of the novel either embarrassed to be seen with Holly or is in an internal battle with his feelings because “how could he possibly have feelings for a fat girl?” The feminist in you will roll your eyes so far back in your head it might cause a headache.
- The book shines light on a very problematic view of what being a bigger girl entails. It is full of very clear and easy to find body shaming.
- It was hard to connect to any characters other characters in the story; they fall flat and feel one-dimensional. They come in to deliver a line and out the door they go.
My overall thoughts: This book is not worth the time. My 2/5 star rating comes solely from Stephanie Evanovich’s writing style, otherwise I would have given it a lower rating. If you’re looking for a light-hearted chick lit that shows that “bigger girls can be happy too” then this is not what you’re looking for. The book has some serious body shaming and it’s just full of hatred. The male character is beyond shallow and often feels horrible for liking a “fat girl” which just helps to instigate insecurity not only on the main character but also all the readers, who probably picked up the book hoping for a fresh take on a big girl’s love story. I was very disappointed reading this book and I would honestly not recommend it. While the book does provide a somewhat happy ending, in my eyes an alternative ending for Holly would be a better lesson for the readers.
I will still look for future releases by Stephanie Evanovich because I really enjoy her style. Hopefully it won’t disappoint as much as Big Girl Panties.