I first wanted to read The Vacationers after coming across an article in Conde Nast Traveler written by the author Emma Straub. In the article, she writes about her travels to the Spanish island of Mallorca, a destination she decided would be the setting for her novel. Her description of the small towns, fresh food from the markets and tapas bars, and deserted beaches led me to finally read her book.
In The Vacationers, the Post family decide to vacation in a rented home in Mallorca for two weeks and while that may seem idyllic, it really wasn’t all sunshine and roses. Jim and Franny are in the midst of marital troubles, their son Bobby is hiding massive debt and his girlfriend Carmen is less than happy about it. Franny’s best friend Charles and his hubby are trying to adopt and Jim and Franny’s daughter Sylvia just wants to get laid before her final summer before college comes to an end.
Strobe easily transitions from one point of view to the next so the reader gets a chance to know each character very well. And these interwoven relationships weren’t sugar-coated but had their endings, reconciliations, and complications just like an relationship in real life.
Being the foodie that I am, I paid close attention to Franny’s cooking throughout the book. She’s a good one and Straub’s descriptions of the family meals she prepares using the specialities of the island made crave tapas. Yes, Mallorca has always been on my list of places to see but even more so now after having read The Vacationers. And it’s so rare when I travel to stay in one place for two weeks but this setting reminded me that should be a travel goal for me. Instead of running from one destination to the next, it’s nice to stay in one place and soak in all of its surroundings.
If you dream of Spain and want some good family drama, then this book is worth a read.
Have you read The Vacationers? What did you think?