Excerpt from Big Girls Don't Cry by Fay Weldon, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Big Girls Don't Cry

by Fay Weldon

Big Girls Don't Cry by Fay Weldon X
Big Girls Don't Cry by Fay Weldon
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Sep 1998, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 1999, 352 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt



Brian is reading a newspaper headline. Oz Trial Verdict - the Bear's Obscene. He has taken the paper from its stand but seems to have no intention of paying for it. The man who owns the kiosk lifts eyes to heaven. He is a relic of the old days. He has no nose. Leprosy ate it away. People avert their eyes but buy more papers. 'Total filth,' says Brian. Nancy is staring at the poster, trying to make out its meaning. She senses that there is something mysterious and powerful here. Layla and Stephanie have finished with their bill-posting and now advance towards Brian and Nancy. Layla has a plank tucked under her arm. Nancy nudges Brian.


'Is something the matter, Nancy?' asks Brian, who has a man's dislike of subtle hints.


'Shouldn't we get on to the Youth Hostel?' asks Nancy. 'They fill up early.' She tries to draw him to one side but he resists.


'Stop nagging,' he says.


'Sorry,' she says. Women would say this to men automatically, far more frequently then than they do now.


'Sex life of Rupert Bear,' he says. 'Getting school kids involved. Disgusting. And this Neville fellow is an antipodean. But this thing is worldwide, I reckon. A worldwide epidemic of permissiveness.' He likes the sound of this. He repeats it.


'Could we pass?' asks Layla, politely, since Brian and his unbought newspaper bar their way. The noseless man smiles thinly under hideous nostrils.


'Ladies say please,' says Brian. At which Layla simply turns and swipes him to one side with the end of the plank, turns back, and she and Stephanie move on. Brian, knocked against the wall momentarily, recovers quickly.


'Aggressive bitches,' he says. 'You were in their way, Brian,' remarks Nancy, which makes Brian wonder exactly whose side she's on. '


They must be feminists,' he observes.


'How can you be sure?' she asks.


'They don't even walk like proper women,' he says.


And it's true. All around Brian and Nancy doe-eyed and adoring women drift along in the shadow of men, stumbling on platforms, trit-trotting in stiletto heels. Layla and Stephanie stride; they wear jeans and T-shirts. Their equivalents today would be muscular and well exercised. Layla and Stephanie, for all their health, strength and energy, are soft-limbed, smooth-shouldered. Men have muscles: women have defencelessness as their weapon. No wonder this world is so erotic, super-charged: composed of polarities as it is. He, she. Hard, soft. Think, feel. Yin, yang. Nancy stares down at her laced canvas sandshoes, with their flat heels which seem to sink you into soil, and is suddenly dissatisfied with all things practical and sensible. Brian shoves the newspaper, badly folded, back into the kiosk rack. The newspaper seller snarls, all red gum and broken teeth and no nose. Brian does not even notice. But on the way past, he too stops and stares at the posters.


'I don't understand that,' he says. 'Is it some kind of stupid ad for something?'


'I think it means women could exist without men,' says Nancy.


'But why would they want to?' asks Brian. He's genuinely puzzled. There will always be women waiting for Brian, with his powerful shoulders, bronzed skin and blue eyes gazing out at the white-topped, non-existent mountains. It is hard for any of us to get beyond our sample of one; namely, ourself.

  • 1
  • 2

Copyright © Fay Weldon 1998. Reproduced with permission of the publisher, Atlantic Monthly Press

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Grace
    by Paul Lynch
    Harrowing. Gorgeous. Epic. Grace, Paul Lynch's coming of age novel about a young woman, is set ...
  • Book Jacket: The Perfectionists
    The Perfectionists
    by Simon Winchester
    We seek precision in our lives every day. We want to drive from home to work and work to home safely...
  • Book Jacket: Beauty in the Broken Places
    Beauty in the Broken Places
    by Allison Pataki
    Ernest Hemingway wrote that we are "strong at the broken places," and Allison Pataki found that to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Love and Other Consolation Prizes
    by Jamie Ford
    Love and Other Consolation Prizes was read and reviewed by 22 BookBrowse members for First ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Twelve-Mile Straight by Eleanor Henderson

An audacious American epic set in rural Georgia during the years of the Depression and Prohibition.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Summer Wives
    by Beatriz Williams

    An electrifying postwar fable of love, class, power and redemption set on an island off the New England coast.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Family Tabor
    by Cherise Wolas

    Wolas's gorgeously rendered sophomore novel reckons with the nature of the stories we tell ourselves.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win A Place for Us

A Place For Us

A deeply moving story of love, identity and belonging--the first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker's new imprint.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

H, W H A Problem

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.