Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Review: Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich

Big Girl Panties: A Novel
 
They say that big girls don't cry. But when the chips are down and the dip is gone, what can you do? Pull up your BIG GIRL PANTIES and change your life.

Holly Brennan didn't expect to be a widow at thirty-two. She also didn't expect to be so big. Through her husband Bruce's diagnosis and death, food was the one thing she could always count on. Now, those extra pounds make flying coach more than a little mortifying-especially since she's sitting next to Adonis himself, aka Logan Montgomery, a personal trainer to the country's most famous pro athletes.

Though Holly doesn't make the grade on his first-impression meter, Logan finds himself intrigued by her sharp wit and keen insight-a welcome change from the beautiful bubble-headed dolls he usually dates-and impulsively offers to get her back in shape. Ready to make at least one positive change in her life, Holly agrees.

To Logan's (and her own) surprise, Holly turns out to be a natural in the gym. Throwing herself into exercise, the red head with the blazing wit and welcoming smile slims down into a bonafide looker with killer curves-and a new kind of hunger. Soon, the easy intimacy and playful banter of their training sessions lead Logan and Holly into the bedroom where they share their most intense and steamy workouts yet.

But can a man whose whole life depends on looks commit himself to a woman who doesn't fit his image? Now that Holly's turning other men's heads, does she even need Logan anymore? Are they a couple built to last . . . or is this sizzling affair going to burn out fast?
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: July 9, 2013
 
 
 
Kat's Review
 
This is the debut novel from Stephanie Evanovich, but it doesn't read like one.  The writing is witty and polished, and the storyline will probably hit a nerve with some people.  I admired the author's willingness to portray the main character as obese at the beginning of the novel, rather than merely chubby or a bit out of shape.  I also liked that even after she had been working out under a personal trainer for months, she was still considered to be "fat" as Logan so delicately put it, to the outside world.  By refusing to provide her character with the typical female body type that Logan typically found attractive, it helped lend credence to his true feelings for Holly. 
 
When Holly and Logan meet, he sees an opportunity to "transform" Holly from the overweight, depressed widow that she is, to a healthy, happy woman.  Or as he puts it to everyone but Holly, from his ugly duckling to the beautiful swan.  Holly is so frustrated by the woman she's become since the death of her husband that she takes him up on his offer.  Over the months that they train together, Holly and Logan develop a friendship that develops into more, despite Logan's desperate attempts at hiding his true feelings. 
 
The novel deals with several issues, obviously Holly's weight being one of the most obvious.  It's also about breaking stereotypes, and in Logan's case, it's about confronting his need to keep people at bay.  His shallow desire to only date women who fit a certain physical standard is more about his fear of forming attachments than anything else.  He has no desire to have a real relationship, instead looking at the women he dates as part of his professional persona, a way to promote the lifestyle he has built his brand around.  When he feels himself falling for Holly, he's unsure how to handle things, and feels conflicted about what others will think, while at the same time trying to spend every free minute with her. 
 
No one is perfect here.  Holly has her flaws, including being extremely sensitive about her weight, often refusing to believe that Logan could feel for her the way he says he does.  I sometimes felt that she rushed into things with him, almost using him as a crutch to get over  the death of her husband.  Logan was also deeply flawed, looking at Holly as a project, or a guilty pleasure for most of the novel.  I do wonder if he would have been able to fall in love with her if she hadn't lost the weight, but I think the fact that she's still heavy even after all the months of training is an indication that she didn't just morph into a super skinny model type before he fell for her. Still, there's a lot to like here, and I found myself laughing out loud at some parts.
 
Rating: A Good Read
 
Like any book, this has its flaws, but overall I really liked it.  A solid first novel.
 
I received a complimentary copy of this title from Edelweiss & the publisher in return for an honest review.
 
 

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