The Vacationers, by Emma Straub; 2014
I picked up The Vacationers at a library sale a couple of months ago, a book that I feel like I’ve been seeing everywhere for a couple of years now. I have to say that it definitely didn’t live up to the hype for me.
The Posts – Franny and Jim, their adult son, Bobby, and eighteen-year-old daughter Sylvia – jet off from Manhattan to Mallorca, Spain. Accompanying them is Franny’s best friend Charles, and Charles’s husband, Lawrence. Bobby’s much-older girlfriend Carmen also comes along for the two-week trip, which was organized to celebrate the Post’s 35th wedding anniversary. What ensues is mostly a lot of eating, predictable tensions and secrets among family members, an attractive young Spaniard, and many, many affairs. The Vacationers is about a dysfunctional family, but its characters and their dilemmas don’t stray far from cliche. I found the Post’s thoroughly unlikeable – only Charles and Lawrence offered up any hope for me in terms of caring about what happened at the end.
Pros: it’s a short, easy breezy read, and definitely one to read on the beach. I read it at the shore this weekend in a couple of days. Straub is also a terrific, graceful writer; I’m definitely curious to check out her new book Modern Lovers one of these days. Also, the descriptions of food in this book are mouth-wateringly good and will make you want to jet of to Mallorca tomorrow.
Verdict: to borrow for your beach bag.