To be fair, I have no business reading a book like Stephanie Evanovich’s Big Girl Panties—it’s simply not my thing. I have nothing against female authors or chick lit, and while I’m no stranger to romance in my personal life, romance novels are completely foreign to me.
I approached Big Girl Panties (William Morrow, $27) with a completely open mind, curious about a genre I know very little about. Once my dalliance had ended, I realized two things: (a) Big Girl Panties may well represent the very best of what this genre has to offer, and (b) this book is awful.
Of course, telling romance fans that a book is poorly written is about as futile as telling a Yankees fan that baseball is boring. You may as well try to convince a smoker that cigarettes are bad for you. It doesn’t matter that Big Girl Panties is completely predictable and totally by the numbers; romance readers will flock to it because it delivers the goods, even if it’s a story they’ve read a thousand times. Big Girl Panties bears little resemblance to serious fiction. It’s more like a rained-out baseball game: The mounds are wet and the wooden bats are rock-hard.
You think I’m joking? Here’s a taste:
“As soon as she was wrapped in his arms, heard his heartbeat through his shirt and smelled his Drakkar Noir, she started to cry.” …
“Every time he brought his lips to hers it was like the first time, and she responded with awe and magic and surprise. Every kiss good-bye ended up launching him back into the desire to possess her all over again.” …
“He drank from between her thighs like she was an oasis in the desert and he was dying of thirst.”
You want a story? Here’s a story: Holly Brennan is a widow in her early 30s. Never skinny, she consoled herself with food after the death of her husband, Bruce. Logan Montgomery is a personal trainer, more Greek god than human specimen. A chance meeting on an airplane prompts Logan to offer his services and help Holly get into shape.
As a character, Holly is interesting. She’s smart and honest and has a sense of humor about her body. Logan is strictly a stock character, a handsome stud who sleeps with models, is fearful of commitment and slow to appreciate Holly’s obvious charm because of the extra weight on her frame.
Padding out the story is Logan’s friend Chase Walker, a baseball star. Chase’s wife, Amanda, is the first to witnesses sparks between Holly and Logan, and she tries to steer them into each other’s arms. There’s also a heavy-handed subplot involving Chase’s kinky fondness for spanking his wife. You know, to spice things up. Evanovich could’ve called this one Fifty Shades of Cray.
Again, my opinion matters not. Still, I’m disappointed that Logan only seems interested in Holly once other men start noticing how attractive she is. That kind of attraction—borne of jealousy and possessiveness—puts the “pig” in this particular version of Pygmalion.
Stay cool with “Bookini,” our poolside reading series by M. Scott Krause.
[ Librarian Loves ]
Selected by Jeanne Goodrich, executive director for the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District
They were the perfect couple: smart, good looking, witty, soulmates. Then, on what was to be their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy disappears. Hapless husband Nick is an immediate suspect. The twists and turns of this psychological thriller, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Crown, $25), bore into the reader’s psyche and gut. Neither is the person we thought they were, as each tells their story in alternate chapters, creating a vortex of confusion and suspense. Once begun, I had to finish it … and then had trouble sleeping. Creepy, unnerving, addictive.