This story is very much about keeping up appearances – as Georgina’s pregnancy progresses she finds herself caring less about what’s on the outside, and more about what’s on the inside – namely her growing baby.
Always one for a spot of self-improvement myself, I do love a good ‘transformation’ tale. It’s very shallow and silly of me, but I love it when former mousy plain-Jane undergoes a miracle makeover and nabs her man.
Quite rightly, these relationships never work out and plain-Jane then goes onto meet a man who appreciated her for what’s on the inside, not the frosting, which is of – course, quite right and correct.
That being said, I do find these ‘Cinderella-style’ plots tremendously enjoyable and Larger than Life was no different.
‘George’, or Georgina, has been obsessing over Hugh since her university days.
Dishy, career-driven and sophisticated, George will go to any – and every – length to make him hers. This included a complete makeover, brief move to New York (to ‘make herself more interesting’) and finally following him into his chosen career in advertising.
Finally, after a lot of hard work, George gets her man. Through a lot of gym sweat and determination she has also radically transformed herself into a toned, sleek and sophisticated young woman.
By the time, Hugh became aware of her ‘potential’, he already had a wife – Becca. George does not let this stand in her way and eventually gets what she wants.
This ruthlessness could make her character highly dislikeable but Parks allows the reader to see the other side of George. This side of her is scared and vulnerable – its one she keeps hidden from just about everyone else, and certainly from Hugh.
When George falls pregnant it becomes a constant treadmill to keep her ‘real’ persona hidden from Hugh. The emotional, vulnerable side of her that is leaking out in pregnancy. And of course, it’s impossible to remain a size 8 when growing an entire human being in your belly.
As Parks navigates the reader through the minefields of marriage and motherhood, George must ask herself is Hugh really the love of her life?
We are first introduced to Georgina in a London Park, pregnant and nauseous, she buys a hotdog from ‘a suspiciously filthy man pushing an off-white cart’. She stuffs it down quickly, minutes later she throwing up everywhere much to the vendor’s disgust. And from this point onwards, I know that I’m going to get on with our leading lady.
George wears a few different masks. As the story starts, the veneer she maintains to keep Hugh interested is the one she pretends is her real life. In time, this veneer begins to crack and we get to know the ‘real’ George – happily she’s sweet, kind and funny.
As we follow George on her journey, her love for Hugh wanes as love for her unborn child begins to rise. We witness our heroine evolve into a strong and gutsy character who can, and will, survive independently of Hugh – on whom she’s always been so utterly reliant.
As George changes she makes some life-changing decisions and personally, I was cheering her along all the way to the finish line!
I really enjoyed this story – one of my favourite Adele Parks books. It’s a fascinating journey as George’s character literally ‘unravels’ in front of Hugh’s eyes both physically and mentally as she progresses through her pregnancy.
But what Hugh perceives as weakness on the outside – the pimples, the layers of maternal fat, the increasing lack of interest in her previously perfect wardrobe – are actually signs that our heroine is becoming stronger.
She no longer needs the Prada suit of armour to protect her from Hugh’s pretensions and starting to realise gasp that he’s a bit of a prat. As love for her baby grows so does her character and the tale becomes a beautiful one of George’s metamorphosis into a strong woman.
I loved the story and was rooting for George from start to finish. Of course, she’s been unquestionably wicked to Hugh’s ex, Becca, as she hungrily pursued her goal, but a flawed heroine is also a realistic one.
A truly worthwhile read with some heartfelt and beautiful moments amidst Parks’ trademark humour.
“It is the most overwhelming experience I’ve ever had. It consumes my every waking moment, and, actually, a fair amount of my sleeping moments, too. I have so much to say about being a mum that I am always tempted to stay silent. It’s an amalgamation of a zillion squabbling emotions: joy, rapture, satisfaction, fear, guilt, wonder, relief, worry. She’s my reason to live, but more than that she’s everybody’s reason to live, even for those people who have no idea of her existence. She is the future.” Adele Parks – Larger than Life
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