The Vacationers by Emma Straub
“They had chosen to make the leap and, having leapt, were delighted to find that the world was even more beautiful than they’d hoped.”
For the Posts, a two-week trip to the Balearic island of Mallorca with their extended family and friends is a celebration: Franny and Jim are observing their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, and their daughter, Sylvia, has graduated from high school. The sunlit island, its mountains and beaches, its tapas and tennis courts, also promise an escape from the tensions simmering at home in Manhattan. But all does not go according to plan: over the course of the vacation, secrets come to light, old and new humiliations are experienced, childhood rivalries resurface, and ancient wounds are exacerbated.
This is a story of the sides of ourselves that we choose to show and those we try to conceal, of the ways we tear each other down and build each other up again, and the bonds that ultimately hold us together. With wry humor and tremendous heart, Emma Straub delivers a richly satisfying story of a family in the midst of a maelstrom of change, emerging irrevocably altered yet whole.
I’ve been on the hunt for some good summer reads and this inviting bright blue cover immediately drew me in. I mean if a huge swimming pool doesn’t say summer, I am not sure what does. I haven’t heard much about this book but it sounded like a contemporary version of the popular young adult book, We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.
The beautiful backdrop of Mallorca serves as the centerpiece of this dysfunctional read full of deep dark secrets and family drama. I happen to really enjoy novels that dive into the depths of family drama and conflict, perhaps as I’ve experienced my share of it in my own family life and therefore tend to relate to the chaos. However, I wasn’t able to connect to any of the characters and frankly didn’t even like any of them, which makes it very difficult to enjoy the novel.
The great premise was there, crazy family and a tropical location, but it didn’t add up and the big secrets were not tantalizing enough to keep my interest. Therefore I give the book, 2 out of 5 stars.