Sunday, 2 January 2011

Big Girl

I hope everyone had a wonderful New Years Eve! We had good friends and their kids come over for a fairly annual New Years celebration. This year the focus wasn't so much on the wine but on the food! Yes, I'm not above using guests as guinea pigs to try out new recipes for blog fodder! Needless to say I have at least 5 new recipes I'll be posting soon. One of them, a DELICIOUS bruschetta that I actually didn't get to serve on New Years is at the top of that list. I could barely keep my hands off of it and even had a foodgasm. Oh yes! I found myself thinking of various ways to use said bruschetta topping and came up with a new recipe!

Also, the end of 2010 also means that my deadline for reading 100 books in 2010 was up and I DID IT! Yes, I did *pat on back*. I actually read 101 books in 2010 (the overachiever that I am) and that's not including the seven books that I didn't finish! Was it difficult to read that many books? At times, yes but I'm glad I set a goal and completed it (even if I did complete it only a day or so before the deadline). Will I do it again this year? Nah. But I do think I'll try to read more of the classics this year. I'm sadly behind in that category.

Author: Danielle Steel
Genre: Modern Fiction
Pages: 323
First Published: February 2010
First Line: "Jim Dawson was handsome from the day he was born."

Synopsis: As a young girl, Victoria Dawson knew she was different from her parents and younger sister. While Victoria is considered chubby and blonde, her family is thin and dark. Throughout her childhood and adulthood, Victoria is made to feel inadequate and unloved by her own family.

When Victoria moves out of her parents' house to go to university she still must deal with their lack of support and condemnation for the life choices she makes.

My Thoughts:
I am one of those rare, rare readers who has never before read Danielle Steel. Going into it I was envisioning more of a V.C Andrews/Dynasty beach read. I was surprised when the book was more middle of the road and there were no cat fights involving rich women. Huh, you learn something new everyday. Apparently I was mistaking her for another author? Perhaps Jackie Collins (I'm just guessing because I've never read her books either. I know, right!).

This was a quick read but the word that would sum it up best is ... redundant. I bet if the descriptions of how Victoria felt about being unloved and overweight were taken out of the book you'd have about 50 pages of story left. Sad but true. This reader doesn't have to be spoon-fed the facts over and over and over again. It felt like Ms Steel was using filler to get her page quota instead of adding to the storyline.

One of the main issues that plagues the main character, Victoria, throughout the book is the fact that she's overweight. The reader learns that Victoria is only 25lbs overweight. An extra twenty-five pounds is overweight?!?! Really? To me this doesn't seem enough weight to be deemed 'overweight' or 'obese'. Heck, I'm 20lbs heavier than I was in university and while I admit that weight has shifted on me (sadly not in the places I'd like it to go) and I have more jiggly bits than I used to but I wouldn't consider myself overweight. I think Ms Steel needs a wake up call on the whole definition of "overweight".

Another thing that irked me was that his book showcased weak women. Women who are subservient to their narcissistic husbands, who berate their child, prefer to spend time playing bridge than playing with their kids, who accept cheating husbands, who value dependency on men instead of valuing education and independence of women. What century are we in again?!?!And what does Victoria do to make herself feel so much better about herself (besides yo-yo dieting)? She gets a nose job to increase her self-worth. What!?!?

I was hoping and so looking forward to Victoria to telling off her snotty parents at the end of the book but, sadly, that never happened. She went on her way to make her own life (which is good) but after all of the constant, blatant put downs, favouritism and lack of love from her parents I was hoping for at least a major tongue lashing to her miserable parents. The least that could have happened was for Victoria's mother or sister to see the light but they continued on in their own male-dominated little roles.

Ms Steel had brought a couple of important subjects to the table but didn't seem to get anywhere with them. I think she may have set back the women's movement a wee bit actually.

I'm not going to write off Danielle Steel yet though. I was a little surprised at how much I didn't like this book but from the high praises of her other books I'm willing to give her another try. Can anyone suggest a great read by this author to give me a better understanding of her writing abilities?

My Rating: 2/5 stars

6 comments:

Beth said...

As a general rule I really hate Danielle Steel's writing. I used to read them in high school and got tired of the women in her books. However, I think if you want to try another one, "Finer Things" was one of her better ones.

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Thanks Beth. I'll give "Finer Things" a shot at a later date. Steel has been one of those infamous authors that I just never picked up as a teen or adult.

Ms. C said...

I also read Steel's books throughout my highschool years. When I attempt to read her work now I always become frustrated with her writing style... it is so repetitive! However, a few months ago I read and reviewed Matters of the Heart, one of her newer works that is surprisingly less repetitive.

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

The repetitive writing really got to me too, Ms C. Glad to hear I'm not the only one!

Farmer Giesen said...

Actually it's called "Fine Things" and it's the first Danielle Steele book I read back in high school. I have a copy and will give it you next week hopefully when I see you.

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Thanks Giesen! I've been in a kind of a reading rut for the past week. I started two duds! Hate it when I lose my book mojo!

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