Holly Brennan is an overweight widow who’s supremely unhappy with her life. She doesn’t like flying as it is, but after settling her late husband’s affairs, she boards a plane to find out that she’s squeezed next to “Adonis himself,” who is none too happy to be sitting next to the likes of her. Logan Montgomery struggles to overcome his first impression of Holly, and is helped along by, of all things, the fact that she smells kind of good. By the end of the plane ride, he’s mistakenly assumed that she’s in some sort of financial pickle (just because she’s overweight?), but still wants her to join his overpriced gym so that he can whip her into shape. (Don’t worry: being the amazingly nice guy he is, he gives her a discount.)
And thus begins a saga of Logan looking down on Holly, and Holly looking down on herself. She’s supposedly extremely overweight, but she has endurance and flexibility to spare, so it’s not long before the pounds start falling off. As Holly begins to look more respectable (or so Logan feels), he invites her to spend time with his famous friends, who convince her that she needs a serious makeover. It’s not long before Holly’s looking hot and Logan starts noticing her in a different way (and so do other men). Still, Logan feels that Holly doesn’t match up to the expectations that society sets for him (in other words, she’s still not skinny enough to be his girlfriend in public).
I really thought that Big Girl Panties would be a hilarious, refreshing book that celebrates that a woman can find love even if she doesn’t have the perfect body. Instead, I got a book that berates a woman for not being a size zero. I got a book in which the hero actually considers recommending that his girlfriend get liposuction to help flatten her belly. I got a book in which the heroine must lose 80 pounds before the hero gives her the time of day, and then still feels bad about herself for not being “skinny enough.” And this isn’t even all in Holly’s head – the narration shifts frequently enough that we know Logan feels exactly how Holly fears that he does. As she’s feeling bad about herself, he’s actually thinking, at that same moment, that she doesn’t quite look the part of a celebrity trainer’s girlfriend. He’s actually thinking that maybe his girlfriend will reflect badly on him, make him lose some credibility.
At the beginning of the book, despite its problematic parts, I thought I would end up liking it. Not loving it, but at least liking it. I’m so disappointed right now, because around the point that Holly really starts losing weight, the book just snowballs. I started skimming around page 200 because the story became so repetitive. All in all, Big Girl Panties is a mess. Would not recommend, unless you really enjoy becoming irate at judgey fictional characters.
Final rating: ★☆☆☆☆