The Vacationers

The Vacationers: A Novel - Emma Straub

This was my book club's most recent selection and book we discussed on Sunday. A "lighter" read was preferred by our group and this won the vote based on that assumption.  It was indeed a lighter read than our previous selections and overall it was thought to be slighter better than your average beach read.


Jim and Franny are trying to work things out in their 25+ years marriage and decide to go on a family vacation to Spain.  This includes their daughter Sylvia who just graduated from high school and is college bound as well as her much older brother Bobby and his much older girlfriend Carmen.  In addition, Franny's longtime best friend Charles and his husband Lawrence join them for their holiday.


Franny is bitter that Jim had an affair. Jim is weak and wimpy.  Sylvia is lost in her own world of angst but livens up a bit for handsome Juan, her Spanish tutor her mother arranged for the trip.  Bobby and Carmen have their own troubles and Carmen feels like the outsider who doesn't fit in with this family.  Charles and Lawrence are desperately trying to adopt a baby. Franny lights up like Christmas whenever Charles is around and once the two of them are together anyone else in the room becomes oblivious.  Once they all arrive in Spain drama, hysterics and folly result.


Despite some good reviews on this book I was surprised I did not enjoy it.  I didn't think any of the characters to be likable but Lawrence who seemed to be the only one of the cast who had any sense and sanity.  If you like beach reads and the lighter side when it comes to books than this is for you.  If like me, you need a bit more substance for a satisfying read then I wouldn't recommend this one.


How I acquired this book: Purchased at Barnes & Noble with giftcard from Christmas.

Shelf Life:  2 months