Book Review: Stephanie Evanovich’s Big Girl Panties

July 9, 2013 1 out of 5, Contemporary Romance, review 2

Book Review: Stephanie Evanovich’s Big Girl PantiesTitle: Big Girl Panties
Author: Stephanie Evanovich
Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Rating: one-star
My Copy: Complimentary Copy won via Publisher
Add to: Goodreads
Synopsis: 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.

If Stephanie Evanovich’s name sounds familiar it is because she’s the niece of Janet Evanovich. I wanted to love Big Girl Panties based on the synopsis, but it just fell flat.

Logan has a habit of calling his female clients swans. Meaning he transforms them from ugly ducklings to beautiful swans and he’s quite confident in his ability. While I respect he’s a personal trainer and one to the rich and famous, he comes off as shallow and immature. Holly, on the other hand, is still grieving for her husband. She admits to self esteem issues and at times while I could relate to her, there were times I couldn’t stand her. Her constant comparison of her life versus her childhood friend’s life was annoying especially for a woman who was happy with her independence. On top of that, she makes the decision to go back to her family, a family that told her she would never amount to anything. Why? The secondary characters are Logan’s friends, Chase and Amanda. I understand why Evanovich introduces them because they serve as the point of contact between Logan and Holly especially when they aren’t together, but the whole spanking fetish they have was just strange. It would have made more sense if Big Girl Panties was more of an erotic novel or your typical contemporary romance, but not for chick-lit. I did like them because they accepted Holly, but overall, their story just felt misplaced. Then we have Holly’s childhood friend Tina. I wish Holly had ended that friendship a long time ago because I don’t see any reason for them to be friends other than Tina being there to remind Holly that she’ll never be as thin as her and hence no happily ever after.

I believe the big issue for me is how Evanovich deals with obesity and relationships. Holly isn’t deemed attractive until she loses a significant amount of weight and even then she’s still dressing in her old clothes. Ask anyone who has lost a significant amount, there’s no way she’s going still be wearing the same pants unless she’s wearing them with a belt (and even that’s questionable). Holly undergoes a makeover and then suddenly men are handing out their numbers, but she wants Logan; elusive Logan who only sees her as a friend and client. Throughout the course of the novel, we find out Holly’s first husband, Bruce had been her one and only. Meaning Holly settled despite not loving Bruce because no one would want her. Even when Logan begins to date her he keeps his distance and takes her only to places where Chase and Amanda will be because he’s ashamed of her. So you see, there’s still something wrong with Holly despite losing weight because Logan thinks she’s unworthy and even Tina reminds Holly of this. I wish Evanovich had let Holly date around after her weight loss and let Logan wallow in self pity because he lost her to some super hot baseball player on Chase’s team. Now that would have been an amazing read.

Logan does redeem himself, but a little too late and even then I don’t see him changing. I appreciate that Evanovich gave us an overweight protagonist, but the amount of fat shaming (not only by Logan but by those around him) didn’t sit well with me; especially when we’re told Holly lost 40 pounds and suddenly we’re told she has muscle and is lean, but because she still weighs double digits, she’s still considered fat? Furthermore, knowing that Holly hated the term swan, Logan calls her his beautiful swan at the end. So really, had she not lost the weight and undergone a makeover, Holly would still be unattractive. I wish Evanovich had given us a Logan who fell for Holly for her inner beauty rather than her physical. While her message is probably to inspire woman to get healthy, the way she executed it, wasn’t the best way.

Stephanie Evanovich’s Big Girl Panties had potential, but quickly fell flat. I had issues with the book, but a lot of readers really seem to like it. If you’re still interested in reading it, my recommendation is to borrow a copy from a friend or the library and spend your money elsewhere.

2 Responses to “Book Review: Stephanie Evanovich’s Big Girl Panties”

  1. Jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader

    I had been contemplating purchasing this when I saw it on a new releases post this week, but now I’m reconsidering it. While I was immediately struck by the concept, it sounds as though the problematic aspects in this novel would prove too much for me to bear.

    It seems a little counter-productive to go to the trouble of taking the rather revolutionary step of writing about an overweight protagonist only to shame and demean her at every turn. Heaven forbid we’re given a positive message about body acceptance and inner beauty! I had been hoping that Holly would be portrayed as a figure of empowerment, so I was extremely disappointed to hear that this wasn’t the case.

    To put it bluntly, Logan sounds like an absolute pig. To read that he only falls for Holly after she loses the weight is disgusting and an immediate deal breaker for me. From the sounds of it, nothing could be done to repair the damage done to his character throughout the early portion of the novel.

    This was a very insightful and thoughtful review, Jessica! I greatly enjoyed reading it and am thankful I now know that this is not the book for me.
    Jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader recently posted…Top Ten Favourite Book-To-Film-Or-TV AdaptationsMy Profile

    • Jessica

      What annoyed me was the fact that Logan didn’t fall for her personality. I mean she wasn’t going to change (well maybe she might become more confident or not) and I don’t know why Evanovich didn’t give us a Logan who was conflicted for his feelings for her based on her personality. If she had gone that route instead, I would have rated this higher but she didn’t. Even after Holly lost weight he still thought of her as overweight and I just couldn’t get past that. There was no inner turmoil about his feelings vs being attracted to someone physically, etc. I wanted more for Holly. I wanted her to know that she could have anyone she wanted because of her inner beauty and not settle. She settled once, can it be she’s settling for Logan because he’s this gorgeous man who eventually became attracted to her?

      This book made me angry at times. For everyone who loved it, great! I’m happy they enjoyed it, but I wanted to love this book.

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