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McAndrew's atmospheric second novel (after Going Topless) takes readers into the superficially glamorous lives of the expatriate Sanders family in late 1970s Paris. Fifteen-year-old Charlotte lives with her snobby older sister, emotionally autistic father and chic though she was from Kentucky mother, Astrid. Charlotte busies herself with the standard obsessions of adolescence: crushes, homework, power plays within her school's cliques. Her journey to adulthood begins as her parents' marriage—and her family—crumble when her mother's affair with a Polish dissident lands Astrid in jail. Forced to choose between her parents, Charlotte moves with Astrid to the punk scene of early '80s New York and works her way through the milestones of a young woman's life: high school, college, work. Slowly, she finds her place in the world while her family's capacity for reinvention leads its members to new and unexpected alliances. McAndrew's casual but assured depictions of life among the upper crust of Paris and New York (those heavy-lidded women of indeterminable age) and wry voice (one of those iconic Parisian addresses that only foreigners could afford), make this coming-of-age novel a delectable treat. (Sept.)
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“McAndrew can do cross-cultural humor with the flair of Diane Johnson, but she also has her own kind of sophistication—an international knowingness coupled with an American practicality.”
--The New York Times
“McAndrew has immense talent for calling up vastly different settings in precise detail, and her observations, as realized by her clear-eyed protagonist, are deliciously sharp-edged. Dense with context and deeply nuanced, yet effortlessly readable. McAndrew is a real find.”
“A sophisticated coming-of-age story.”
“McAndrew's casual but assured depictions of life among the upper crust of Paris and New York and wry voice, make this coming-of-age novel a delectable treat.
“McAndrew’s novel brings an original sensibility as well as a plot that takes satisfying, unexpected turns.”
--The New York TimesSee all Editorial Reviews
I liked this book for the way it seemingly effortlessly transported me to another place and time. I say seemingly because I don't think the author just lucked out. Read morePublished on March 6, 2013 by N. Smith
I had to read it for a book club I belonged to. Someone who had studied French in college and had gone to France assigned it. Read morePublished on February 28, 2013 by S. Sur
It's slow going, but interesting how some history is woven in. The teenage point of view is an interesting perspective especially if you're a bit older like me.Published on November 28, 2012 by Suzie Q
This book was one of the first download kindle editions that I got for my i-phone and it's wonderful! Read morePublished on May 11, 2011 by Fashion Frenchie
The narrator, Charlotte, is a delightfully insightful ex-pat teenager living in Paris with her parents and sister, Lea. Read morePublished on December 23, 2009 by Red all over
I traveled to Europe in my teens during the 80's and spent a summer studying in Paris in the mid 90's, and McAndrew's novel brought back so many memories. Read morePublished on December 12, 2009 by E. Painton