The Vacationers by Emma Straub

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Since I am studying abroad in Barcelona, I thought it would be nice to review a book with a story set in Spain! The Vacationers is a newer book, published in 2014, that explores the typical woes of family life, and explores below the surface to reveal various tensions and conflicts found when you take a closer look.

Genre: Adult Fiction

Rating: 3.5/5

Published: 2014

Summary: The Post family has decided to take a two week vacation to the Balearic Island of Mallorca, Spain to celebrate Fanny and Jim’s 25th wedding anniversary, as well as their daughter Sylvia’s high school graduation. image003They rent a house that is able to fit Franny, Jim, their children Sylvia and Bobby, Bobby’s girlfriend Carmen, and Franny’s best friend Charles along with his husband Lawrence. We quickly learn that all of their lives in Manhattan are filled with tension and deceit. Jim and Fanny are working through Jim’s infidelity with a younger office assistant, Sylvia is escaping from a social media scandal where photos of her making out with multiple boys at a party were posted, Charles and Lawrence have disagreements over their recently approved adoption, and Bobby struggles to ask his parents for financial help since he is now in debt after a protein shake company pyramid scheme. By the time it’s time to leave Mallorca, Franny and Jim’s marriage is stable and intact, Charles and Lawrence are preparing to welcome a Cala Fornells, Mallorcababy into their home, Bobby is considering moving back to New York to get his life together and Sylvia is ready to go out on her own at college.

Thoughts: This book was a quick and easy read. It gives a very realistic view into the lives of a typical family with typical family problems and tension. It was honest and did not include embellishments, drama or plot twists that made it both refreshing yet slightly boring. I was kind of waiting for some big dramatic climax to happen but it never did. They merely resolve most of their tensions and return to their lives in Manhattan refreshed and renewed. It was a good book to read to ensure people that everyone goes through family problems, and no family is as perfect as it appears on the surface.

Quotes:

“Families were nothing more than hope cast out in a wide net, everyone wanting only the best.”

“So much of being a good friend was knowing when to keep your mouth shut.”

“Maybe that was the key to all good relationships, having oceans of time apart.”

“The major accomplishment of her life was producing two children who seemed to like each other even when no one else was looking.”

Recommendations: Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

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