Friday, June 10, 2016

The Vacationers by Emma Straub

It first resembles some sort of reality television show: 7 people living in a house on a beautiful 
island off the coast of Spain for two weeks. But it turns out that we're really being invited along on a family vacation of sorts. Seven very different people come together for a chance to relax, swim, and eat glorious food and we soon realize that each has their own hopes, fears, and issues.

Jim: father of the Post family is "a cool 60" years old and finds himself faced with the void of retirement forced upon him once it came to light that he had an affair with a 23-year-old intern (sorry, editorial assistant) at work.

Franny: matriarch, freelance food writer and woman coming to terms with herself due to the shock of her husband's infidelity this trip also marks their 35th wedding anniversary.

Sylvia: their 18-year-old daughter who has just graduated high school and is hoping to lose her virginity before learning for Brown in the fall.

Bobby: the Post's oldest child. Struggling Miami real estate agent and ambivalent gym rat.

Carmen: Bobby's long-time athletic trainer girlfriend who Franny and Jim have always felt was "too old" for their son.

Charles: Franny's best friend for almost 40 years and artist.

Lawrence: Charles' husband and accountant for movie productions. Wants more than anything to adopt a baby and become a father with Charles.

Throw all of these people and their separate and shared histories together and you've interesting two weeks ahead. Break-ups, blowups, possible adoptions--all bubbling under the surface of this seemingly ideal vacation. Straub's characters are fully formed and the reader gobbles up page after page trying to see what will happen next. Will Bobby dump Carmen? Will Franny just divorce Jim already? This seemingly light-hearted beach novel packs a realistic punch for readers. Be sure to check out a copy of The Vacationers today.