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The Vacationers: A Novel Hardcover – May 29, 2014
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An Amazon Best Book of the Month, June 2014: Here's the funny thing about family: there's no one you love more than your relatives, and yet they're also the people who push your buttons the most. Emma Straub has captured this dilemma in her pitch-perfect second novel The Vacationers. The Post family’s vacation to the Balearic island of Mallorca is one fraught with jealousy and quiet secrets. It's an anniversary for parents Franny and Jim, who are making amends for some rocky marital misgivings; their son Bobby and his much-maligned older girlfriend Carmen have a financial favor to ask; and high school-age daughter Sylvia has made it her mission to lose her virginity to her Spanish tutor. The novel is warm--not just for the sunny beaches that surround Mallorca, but for the compassion and humor that Straub imbues in her characters. The Vacationers is a summer read for sure, but you'd be hard pressed to find a smarter one. --Kevin Nguyen
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From the beginning, no one is particularly thrilled about this sojourn. Initially booked as a 35th wedding anniversary present, the Post marriage is now in flux. 60 year old Jim has recently been forced to resign as the editor of a New York Magazine for his dalliance with a 23 year old intern. His wife Fanny is a writer "going around the world and writing about what she ate" is deciding what her next course of action might be. Sylvia, their 18 year old daughter, is ready to begin Brown University in the fall and wants to lose her virginity. She is disheartened to see the fighting among her parents and has recently gone through her own angst due to her girl /boyfriend's duplicitous actions. 28 year old Bobby is a realtor and lives in Florida. He is a casualty of the real-estate bubble. He has been living with his girlfriend Carmen, who is 10 years older, for seven years without making a commitment. Carmen is an instructor at the Total Body Power and feels like an outsider, everything she does in order to please her boyfriend's family "never seemed to be right". Charles is Fanny's best friend and he and husband Lawrence have been trying to adopt a baby to complete their family.
Author Emma Straub appears to make all the right decisions. Instead of using alternating chapters with a lot of back-story, she jumps from character to character, as the book starts on Day One of the vacation and ends on Day Fourteen.Read more ›
The Post family is at time of transition. Franny and Jim have been married for thirty-five years and it is quite possible that they will get divorced. Jim has had an affair with a very young woman at his work-place, someone only a few years older than his daughter. Not only has he lost his job as the editor of Gallant magazine because of his indiscretion, but he might also lose his wife who he still loves very much. He is floundering and not ready for this imposed early retirement at sixty years old. Franny, who writes about food for a living, finds it almost impossible to be around Jim since his affair. Forgiving him seems to be out of the question.
Sylvia Post is eighteen years old and headed to Brown University in the fall. She wants to reinvent herself in college and is sick of everyone who has known her in school since she was a child. One of her pressing goals is to lose her virginity. This is a big task for a young woman who has been kissed only six times since she was twelve. She is worried about her parents' relationship as she has overheard their arguments at home.
Bobby Post is twenty-eight and living in Miami with Carmen, a woman more than a decade older than him who his family does not like. Bobby's job selling real estate went under because of the crash in the Florida real estate market. He works as an assistant trainer at the health club where he met Carmen, also a trainer. Bobby invested all his money in an Amway-like distribution scheme to sell whey products to work-out fanatics.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
on the surface this novel feels like a thriller that never made it to the thrills, but it is really a novel about what makes us terrible people without any sort of... Read more
A good beach read but nothing more. It's one of those books that is easy to read and virtually mindless. It had some plot development and was a very quick read. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Vermont reader
i came to this book in a roundabout sort of way -- through instagram, where i found myself, somehow, scrolling through author emma straub's beautiful feed. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Hilal Isler
Kind of dull. I didn't really like any of the characters. They all seemed sort of shallow and not that interesting.Published 8 days ago by Pam Clute
I bought this book for my vacation and I loved it! I am not a quick reader and I read it in about 1.5 days.. I couldn't put it down. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Michelle S
While certainly enjoyable, this breezy read is best saved for those times when you want very little to think about. Ms. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Ms. Russell
Boring and predictable book. Uninteresting characters. Don't waste your timePublished 27 days ago by Sarah