Big Girl Panties: A Novel
Many women have issues with their weight and can relate to Holly Brennan’s situation. A woman of ample girth and ample means, 32-year-old Holly is nonetheless unable to procure a first-class ticket on a flight, forcing her to squeeze her full-figured body into coach. As she makes her way down the aisle, she spots a total hottie sitting next to her empty seat.
Tying up loose ends of her recently deceased husband’s estate in Canada, Holly is returning home to Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Though never thin, she is now a “big woman.” For almost two years, she dealt with her spouse’s disease in an eating frenzy, which offered a source of comfort and a way to assuage her grief.
Back on the airplane the hottie, aka Logan Montgomery, groans upon seeing Holly approach. He prays she won’t occupy the seat next to him, but his prayers are not answered. She unceremoniously crams herself next to him explaining, “I’ll bet this plane was used to transport munchkins out of Oz.”
Logan, a personal trainer for professional athletes is a snob. He finds anyone with excess flesh on the bones distasteful for chubbiness does not fit into his conception of beauty. Repulsed by Holly, he is hit by an attack of conscience when he observes her fear of flying. They strike up a conversation, and before arriving in New York, Logan offers to train her at his gym, astounded by his sudden desire to help her.
To Holly’s disbelief, she accepts his proposal. She drools over his good looks and GQ magazine stereotype, surmising he only fancies tall, willowy blondes on his arm. She tries not to envision a relationship with him other than as coach and client, but finds not fantasizing not all that easy.
Holly is mortified at the intensity of the sweat she exudes while exercising and brings her own towels to the gym. Logan’s question about this has her explaining with embarrassment the “snail trails” she leaves on his equipment otherwise. As he spends time with her, he observes her intelligence and her wit, making him realize she is more than just some flabby chick.
Logan delves into Holly’s life, hoping to find the reason for her eating disorder. He tells her, “There is no denying genetics play a role in a person’s body type. People are predisposed to six-pack abs just like they are to having blue eyes. But any time a person is carrying excessive fat, there is usually something deeper going on.” To get to the root of her overeating, he delves into her distressing past with her, and by doing so, confirms his need to “fix” her in her entirety, not just regarding her dress size.
Holly remembers her belief that a personal trainer is “a polite term for ‘drill sergeant,’ a mean-spirited taskmaster whose only goal in life was to try to kill you in the most wretched yet civilized ways possible.” Throughout her time working out with Logan she is delighted to find he is a “genuine human being and an all-around nice guy.”
Soon Holly’s hard work starts to pay off and much to Logan’s astonishment, his vision of her morphs such that he sees her as a beautiful, intelligent, charming woman. With his opinion now changed, he submits Holly has him “. . . forsaking all his prior reliable standards and ideals.”
Stephanie Evanovich displays empathy by addressing various causes for overeating and supplies information for overeaters in a subtle, caring, and unpreachy manner. With compassion, she creates an authentic, believable character in Holly, while simultaneously helping Logan comprehend that his insensitivity and rush to judgment could cost him the best thing in his life.
Funny, feisty, and determined, Holly demonstrates that even while putting on her big girl panties to confront life head on, she can still fantasize about a skimpy thong.
Steamy and passionate enough to cause shy readers to blush, Big Girl Panties is definitely a read for “big girls.”