When you look at the cover of Going Topless and read the lines on the front ("Will four sisters reveal a little too much under the Mediterranean sun?"), you’ll think you’re in for another of the fluffy chick-lit books that have become so popular in the last few years. However, once you get through a chapter or two, you’ll realize that Megan McAndrew’s first book is more similar to Le Divorce than to Bridget Jones’s Diary.
The heroine of the book is Constance Wright, an investment banker who is bringing her new boyfriend to meet her family on the Mediterranean island of Santerre during her late father’s memorial. Constance’s family is a bit more than her boyfriend bargained for. It consists of her gorgeous sister, Isabelle, who has just left her revolutionary husband for his philandering and brought her two bratty children to the island, stepsisters Lucy (a former model with an unhappy marriage and an autistic child) and Jane, a lesbian artist, and stepmother Odette, a French tart who gets a little too close to every male she meets.
As the sisters bicker, argue and insult each other, strange alliances form and Constance, along with nearly everyone else in the house, questions her choice of partners and begins eyeing another love interest. Just as the romantic liaisons are coming to light, the girls realize that their father was into some shady dealings before his death that they must deal with before they get in deep with some very unsavory individuals.
Although this may seem like a chick-lit plot, Going Topless is actually much deeper than most books you’ll find in that genre. It’s also written differently, including some commentaries on expatriates and plenty of words that you might need a dictionary to define. Unfortunately, like Le Divorce, Going Topless suffers from a lack of likeable characters, which makes it difficult to really get into or care how the plot resolves. However, if you enjoy commentary on social situations and want to read about one truly dysfunctional family, you might want to give Going Topless a try.