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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Big Girl — читать онлайн бесплатно полную книгу (весь текст) целиком

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And Victoria had a healthy appetite, which kept her body broader than it might have been otherwise. She ate big portions at every meal, and always cleaned her plate. She liked cakes and candy and ice cream and bread, particularly when it was fresh out of the oven. She ate a big lunch at school. She could never resist a dish of french fries, or a hot dog bun, or a hot fudge sundae. Jim liked to eat well too, but he was a big man, and never gained weight. Christine existed mostly on broiled fish, steamed vegetables, and salads, all of which Victoria hated. She preferred cheeseburgers, spaghetti and meatballs, and, even as a child, often helped herself to seconds, despite her father frowning at her, or even laughing about it and making fun of her. No one in her family ever seemed to gain weight except her. And she never skipped a meal. Feeling full gave her a sense of comfort.

“You’re going to regret that appetite one day, young lady,” her father always warned her. “You don’t want to be overweight by the time you go to college.” College seemed like a lifetime away, and the mashed potatoes were sitting right in front of her, next to the platter of fried chicken. But Christine was always careful what she fed the baby. She explained that Grace had a different frame and was built like her, although Victoria sneaked her lollipops and candy, and Grace loved it. She would scream with delight when she saw a Tootsie Roll Pop emerge for her from Victoria’s pocket. And even when Victoria only had one, she gave it to her sister.

Victoria had never been popular in school, and her parents very seldom let her have friends over, so her social life was limited. Her mother said that two children making a mess of the house was enough for her to deal with. And she never liked any of Victoria’s friends when she met them. She always found fault with them for one reason or another, so Victoria stopped asking to invite them. As a result, no one invited Victoria over after school, since she never reciprocated. And she wanted to get home to help with the baby. She had friends at school, but her friendships didn’t extend past school hours. The drama of her early school years was being the only child in fourth grade who didn’t get a valentine. She had come home in tears, and her mother told her not to be silly. Gracie had been her valentine, and the next year Victoria told herself she didn’t care, and braced herself for disappointment. She actually got one that year from a girl who was as tall as she was. All the boys were shorter. The other girl was a beanpole, and actually much taller than Victoria, who was wider.

And the next drama she faced was growing breasts when she was eleven. She did everything she could to hide them, and wore baggy sweatshirts over everything she owned, lumberjack shirts eventually, and everything two sizes larger. But they continued growing, much to Victoria’s chagrin. And by seventh grade she had the body of a woman. She thought of her great-grandmother often, with her wide hips and thick waist, large breasts and full figure. Victoria was praying she never got as big as her great-grandmother had been. The only thing different about her were the long thin legs that never seemed to stop growing longer. Victoria didn’t know it, but they were her best feature. Her parents’ friends always referred to her as a “big girl,” and she was never sure what part of her they were referring to, her long legs, big breasts, or ever-widening body. And before she could figure out which part of her they were looking at, they turned their attention to the elflike Gracie. Victoria felt like a monster beside her, or a giant. And with her height, and her womanly body, she looked much older than her years. Her art teacher in eighth grade called her Rubenesque, and she didn’t dare ask him what it meant, and didn’t want to know. She was sure it was just a more artistic way of calling her big, which was a term she had come to hate. She didn’t want to be big. She wanted to be small, like her mother and sister. She was five feet seven when she stopped growing in eighth grade, which wasn’t enormous, but it was taller than most of her female classmates, and all of the boys at that age. She felt like a freak.

She was in seventh grade when Gracie started kindergarten, and she took her to her classroom. Her mother had dropped them both off at school, and Victoria had the pleasure of taking Grace to meet her teacher and watched her walk into the room with caution and turn to blow a kiss to her big sister. She watched over her all year at recreation, and took her home after afternoon day care. And the same was true in eighth grade, when Gracie was in first grade. But in the fall Victoria would be entering high school, at a different school, in another location, and she would no longer be there for Gracie, or see her if she walked past her classroom during the day. And she was going to miss her. And so was Gracie, who relied on her older sister and loved seeing her peek into her classroom throughout the day. Both girls cried on Victoria’s last day in eighth grade, and Gracie said she didn’t want to come back to school without Victoria in the fall. But Victoria said she had to. Eighth grade was the end of an era for Victoria, and one she had cherished. It always made her happy knowing Gracie was nearby.

The summer before Victoria entered high school she went on her first diet. She had seen an ad for an herbal tea in the back of a magazine, and sent away for it with her allowance. The ad said that it was guaranteed to make her lose ten pounds, and she wanted to enter high school looking thinner and more sophisticated than she had in middle school. With puberty and a richer figure, she had put on roughly ten pounds over what she was supposed to weigh, according to their doctor. The herbal tea worked better than expected and made her desperately ill for several weeks. Grace said she was green and looked really sick, and asked why she was drinking tea that smelled so bad. Her parents had no idea what was wrong with her, since she didn’t tell them what she’d done. The evil brew had given her severe dysentery, and she didn’t leave the house for several weeks, and said she had the flu. Her mother told her father that it was typical pre-high school nerves. But in the end, just by making her so ill, the herbal tea caused her to lose eight pounds, and Victoria liked the way she looked as a result.

The Dawsons lived on the border of Beverly Hills in a nice residential neighborhood. They had the house they’d lived in since before Victoria was born, and Jim was the head of the ad agency by then. He had a satisfying career, and Christine kept busy with her two girls. It seemed like the perfect family to them, and they didn’t want more children. They were forty-two years old, had been married for twenty years, and had a manageable life. They were happy they hadn’t had more kids, and were pleased with the two they had. Jim liked to say that Grace was their beauty, and Victoria had the brains. There was room for both in the world. He wanted Victoria to go to a good college and have a meaningful career. “You’ll need to rely on your brains,” he assured her, as though she had nothing else to offer the world.

“You’ll need more than that,” Christine had said. It worried her sometimes that Victoria was so smart. “Men don’t always like smart girls,” she said, looking worried. “You have to look attractive too.” She had been nagging her about her weight in the past year, and was pleased about the eight pounds she’d lost, with no idea of what Victoria had done to herself for the past month to shed the weight. She wanted Victoria to be thin too, not just smart. They were much less worried about Gracie, who with her charm and beauty, even at seven, looked as though she could conquer the world. Jim was her willing slave.

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