“The Vacationers” by Emma Straub

04 Jun

18641982“The Vacationers” has been on my “To Be Read” list on Goodreads for a while now. It sounded like the perfect summer book. Plus, it’s set in Spain, a place I’ve long wanted to visit.

So, I was predisposed to like it. But then I found after reading just a few pages that I didn’t actually like any of the characters. Not a single one. Which is rare for me. And it also makes it very hard to like a book when there’s no one for whom I’m rooting.  It makes me indifferent.

Here’s the premise:  A wealthy, intellectual family from New York City take a last gasp vacation to Spain before the daughter goes off to college.  The mother and father are both successful writers, but he has recently been let go from his position due to an indiscretion with a young intern.  Their 30-year-old son and girlfriend join the trip, as do the wife’s best friend and his partner.

I enjoyed reading about characters who live such different lives from mine, and I especially loved the descriptions of Spain.  The scenery and food sounded lovely and made me start looking up flights.  However, every character was fatally flawed.  Which of course we all are.  But they were all petty and narcissistic and selfish.  Also, I’m wondering if it is possible to write about a teenage girl without making her completely unpleasant, which the daughter, Sylvia, was.

Luckily, this summer is chock full of good books.  So, if you encounter one that isn’t your favorite, that’s okay.  There’s sure to be another coming along soon that you’ll love.  I’m already reading “The Heiresses” by Sara Shepard and enjoying it, with Stephen King’s “Mr. Mercedes” coming next.


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Posted by on June 4, 2014 in Uncategorized


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