The Vacationers is a delicious book to take to the beach with you, or to read when you are thinking that you would rather be on the beach. As the saying goes, if you can’t take yourself to the beach, bring the beach to you!
An American family from New York takes a vacation in Mallorca. The jealousies, joys, and quiet secrets unfold in their relationships during their stay make an entertaining page-turner. Franny, a food writer, and Jim, a former magazine editor, are not on speaking terms on the threshold of their thirty-fifth anniversary. Their daughter Sylvia is looking forward to the freedom that comes with starting college in the fall. Her parents hire a Mallorcan tutor to help improve her conversational Spanish for the coming semester – to whom she is determined to lose her virginity. Sylvia’s brother Bobby, a floundering real-estate agent and his long-time girlfriend Carmen, a much older fitness instructor, fly in from Miami join the family for the first time in years. Along with some embarrassing financial requests. Franny’s friend Charles and his husband Lawrence also come along, as they eagerly await adopting a baby boy.
Familial relationships in close quarters are ripe for a laugh. Straub wittily intertwines the secrets of what needs to remain unsaid or hidden with the joy, love, and companionship we want to express to those we love. And as those secrets bubble to the surface, resistance against the journey to forgiveness must be met with humor, zest, and understanding. The bonds of family transcend all others.
Emma Straub just published her next novel, Modern Lovers. It sounds every bit as entertaining as The Vacationers. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on a copy!