The Vacationers by Emma Straub
Adult – Contemporary
Published May 29th 2014 by Riverhead Books
I can’t believe it’s almost the end of September and the other day I began craving a visit to the apple orchard. It’s still summer in my mind and this book is my attempt to hold on to that feeling.
The Posts embark on a two week trip to the Balearic island of Mallorca with their extended family and friends. Franny and Jim are observing their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary and celebrating with their family one last time before their youngest daughter, Sylvia, leaves for college at the end of summer. Their eldest son comes along with the older girlfriend no one likes, and to top it all off, Franny’s best friend from college Tom comes along with his husband.
This book, I don’t even know where to start. I guess I did genuinely enjoy this book, I think. The characters were interesting and some I could have read a full book about instead. The characters I loved were created and then abandoned until it was convenient from to be brought back into the story. Every flaw a character did have was meant to be endearing when really they were just annoying and not in a social satire way. I know this review is short but this story is very character driven (there is no real plot) and even when the characters felt like full-people they were cut out because there was nothing to drive them forward. At the end of the day this book felt more like a short story and I think I would have actually liked it if it was.
“Once Charles arrived, Franny would start laughing the way she had when she was twenty-four, and the rest of them could start setting one another on fire for all she cared. That’s what best friends did: ruin people for everyone else.”
“She had the wild look of someone who hadn’t slept in twenty-four hours, with purplish semicircles underneath both her eyes. Being eighteen was like being made out of rubber and cocaine.”
No, it was a fine enough book but just nothing special which is disappointing when it could have been.