Book Review

Chick Lit 101: Bosoming Up To Summer Reading

GOING TOPLESS. No-nonsense NYC banker Constance brings her new beau, Jim, to her jet-setting family's Mediterranean home.

Source of Angst Constance is intrigued by scruffy neighbor Philippe, while Jim makes eyes at her glam French stepmom.

Gratuitous Breast Shot ''[Her] breasts have been likened by their many devotees to peaches and apples and even melons, their implausible combination of weight and aloftness endlessly marveled upon.''

Lowdown Philippe's right when he calls Constance's clan ''perfectly formed characters,'' and their couplings and uncouplings make for a fun French farce. B+

PLAYING JAMES. Quirky British newspaper reporter Holly is assigned to follow cranky cop James.

Source of Angst Despite a rugby-playing ''boyfriend extraordinaire,'' she falls for James (who's engaged to a rich ice princess).

Gratuitous Breast Shot ''Do you know the test where you're supposed to be able to clasp a pencil underneath your breasts? Well, [best friend] Lizzie grumbles that she can not only clasp several pencils but also a ruler, a protractor and a large eraser too.''

Lowdown You don't have to be a police detective to deduce the conclusion, but those Brits sure can do sweet and self-effacing. B-

WAKING BEAUTY. Overweight, unattractive cleaning lady Allison wakes up one morning in the lean 5'9'' body of a gorgeous woman who'd make Claudia Schiffer insecure.

Source of Angst As the new Allison effortlessly picks up studly strangers and modeling gigs, she realizes it's what's on the outside that really counts.

Gratuitous Breast Shot ''Although my figure was slim, my breasts were large, perfectly symmetrical, and absurdly gravity defying.''

Lowdown This fairy tale -- an enjoyable skewering of superficiality -- is like The Swan, but without the surgical scars. A-

Originally posted Jun 18, 2004 Published in issue #770 Jun 18, 2004 Order article reprints
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