Danielle Steel: Big Girl

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Danielle Steel Big Girl
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    Big Girl
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Big Girl: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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A chubby little girl with blond hair, blue eyes, and ordinary looks, Victoria Dawson has always felt out of place in her family, especially in body conscious Los Angeles. Her parents are disappointed by their daughter's looks. Later in life, the one thing Victoria knows is that she has to get as far away from home as possible and, after college in Chicago (which her parents disapprove of), she moves to New York City. Landing her dream job as a high school teacher, Victoria finds joy and excitement working with her students by day-and by night continues to wage war on her weight among the sleek and buff at Manhattan's fitness clubs. Victoria keeps a lifeline open to her family through her close relationship with her sister Gracie. For though they can't be more different the two sisters love each other unconditionally. By contrast her parents, though across the country, still have an emotional hold on Victoria and instinctively seem to know just what to say to bring her down. Victoria knows she has been a disappointment to them all her life. No matter what she does, she can never win their approval. When Grace announces her engagement to a man who is an exact replica of their handsome, materialistic, narcissistic father Victoria cannot help but feel even more ostracized, and like a failure once again. Ahead is a challenge and a risk: to accept herself as she is, celebrate it, and win the victories she has fought so hard for and deserves. Big girl or not, she is a gem!

Danielle Steel: другие книги автора

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She thought of what her father had said then about her being the tester cake, and wondered if it was true. Maybe they had only had her to make sure they got it right with Grace. And if that was true, they certainly had. She was the sweetest thing Victoria had ever seen, and her parents and grandmother said so too. For one tiny instant, Victoria wished that someone else had been the tester cake, and they had felt about her the way they obviously did about Grace. She wished that she was a victory and not a failure of the recipe or the oven temperature. And whatever their intentions had been in having her first, she just hoped they never decided to throw her away. All she wanted now was to share the rest of her life with Grace, and be the best big sister in the world. And she was glad for the baby that she hadn’t gotten their great-grandmother’s nose too.

She went downstairs to have lunch with her parents and grandmother then, while the baby slept peacefully upstairs, having just been fed and changed. Her mother had told her that she would sleep a lot for the first few weeks. At lunch, her mother talked about getting her figure back as quickly as she could, and Jim poured champagne for the adults, and smiled at Victoria. There was always something faintly ironic about the way he looked at her, as though they shared a joke, or as though she was the joke. Victoria was never quite sure which it was, but she liked it when he smiled at her. And now she was happy to have Grace. She was the baby sister she had dreamed of all her life, someone to love, and who would love her just as much as she loved her.

Chapter 3

Victoria’s mother taught her to do everything for the baby. By the time Grace was three months old, Victoria could change a diaper, bathe her, dress her, play with her for hours, and feed her. The two were inseparable. And it gave Christine a much-needed break on busy days. Victoria helping her mother with the baby gave Christine time to play bridge with her friends, take golf lessons, and see her trainer four times a week. She had forgotten how much work babies were. And Victoria loved to help her. The moment she came home from school, she washed her hands, picked her sister up, and took care of whatever she needed. It was Victoria who won Grace’s first smile, and it was obvious that the baby adored her, just as Victoria was crazy about Grace.

Grace remained a picture-perfect baby. By the time she was a year old, whenever Christine took the girls to the supermarket with her, someone stopped her. Living in Los Angeles, there were often movie scouts in ordinary places. They solicited Christine for movies, TV shows, commercials, print ads, and working in advertising; Jim had been offered his share of those opportunities too, whenever he showed her picture. Victoria would watch in fascination as people approached them and tried to get her mother to let them use Grace in every kind of ad, TV show, or movie, and Christine always graciously said no. She and Jim had no desire to exploit their baby, but they were always flattered by the offers and told friends about them later. Watching the exchanges, and hearing about them afterward always made Victoria feel invisible. It was as though she didn’t exist when the scouts talked to her mother. The only child they saw was Grace. Victoria didn’t mind it, but sometimes she wondered what it would be like to be on TV or in a movie. It was fun that Grace was so pretty, and Victoria loved dressing her up, like a doll, with ribbons in her curly dark hair. She was a beautiful baby and turned into an equally lovely looking toddler. And Victoria nearly melted the first time her baby sister said her name. Grace chortled happily whenever she saw her, and was fiercely attached to her older sister.

When Grace was two and Victoria was nine, their grandmother Dawson died, after a brief illness, which left Christine with no help with the baby except for what Victoria did to assist her. The only babysitter they had ever used was Jim’s mother, so after her mother-in-law’s passing, Christine had to find a babysitter they could rely on when they went out in the evenings. Thereafter there was a parade of teenage girls who came to use the phone, watch TV, and let Victoria take care of the baby, which both sisters preferred anyway. Victoria got more and more responsible as she got older, and Grace got more beautiful with each passing year. She had a sunny disposition and laughed and smiled constantly, mostly at the urging of her older sister, who was the only person in the family who could make her laugh through her tears or stop a tantrum. Christine was far less adept with her than her older daughter. Christine was only too happy to let her take care of Grace. And by then, her father still regularly teased her about being their “tester cake.” Victoria knew exactly what that meant, that Grace was beautiful and she wasn’t, and they had gotten it right the second time around. She had explained that to a friend once, who had looked horrified by the explanation, much more so than Victoria, who was used to the term by now. Her father didn’t hesitate to use it. Christine had objected to it once or twice, and Jim assured her that Victoria knew he was just teasing. But in fact Victoria believed him. She was convinced by then that she was the mistake, and Grace their ultimate achievement. That impression was reinforced by each person who admired Grace. Victoria’s sense of being invisible became deeply entrenched. Once people had commented on how adorable and beautiful Gracie was, they had no idea what to say about Victoria, so they said nothing and ignored her.

Victoria wasn’t ugly, but she was plain. She had sweet, natural fair looks, and straight blond hair that her mother put in braids, as compared to Grace’s halo of dark ringlets. Victoria’s hair had gotten straight as she got older. She had big innocent blue eyes the color of a summer sky, but Grace and her parents’ dark ones always seemed more exotic and more striking to her. And their eye color was all the same, as was their hair. Hers was different. And both her parents and Grace had thin frames, her father was tall, and her mother and the baby were delicate and fine-boned and had small frames. Grace and her parents were a reflection of each other. Victoria was different. She had a square look to her, a bigger frame, and broad shoulders for a child. She looked healthy, with rosy cheeks and prominent cheekbones. The one remarkable feature about her was that she had long legs, like a young colt. Her legs always seemed too long and thin for her squat body, as her grandmother had put it. She had a short torso that made her legs seem even longer. Despite her wider frame, she was nonetheless quick and graceful. And even as a child, she was big for her age, not enough to be called fat, but there was nothing slight about her. Her father always made an issue that she was too heavy for him to pick her up, while he tossed Grace in the air like a feather. Christine had a tendency to be underweight even after her babies, and in great shape thanks to her trainer and exercise classes. And Jim was tall and lean, and Grace was never a really chubby baby.

What Victoria was more than anything was different from the rest of them. Enough so for everyone to notice. And more than once, people had asked her parents within her hearing if she was adopted. She felt like one of those picture cards they held up at school that showed an apple, an orange, a banana, and a pair of galoshes, while the teacher asked which one was different. In her family, Victoria was always the galoshes. It was a strange feeling she’d had all her life, of being different, and not fitting in. At least if one of her parents had looked like her, she would have felt as though she belonged. But as it was, she didn’t, she was the one person out of sync, and no one had ever called her a beauty, as they did Gracie. Gracie was picture perfect and Victoria was the unattractive older sister, who didn’t match the rest of them.

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