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!
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by Danielle Steel
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