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The Vacationers | [Emma Straub]

The Vacationers

For the Posts, a two-week trip to the Balearic island of Mallorca with their extended family and friends is a celebration: Franny and Jim are observing their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, and their daughter, Sylvia, has graduated from high school. The sunlit island, its mountains and beaches, its tapas and tennis courts, also promise an escape from the tensions simmering at home in Manhattan. But all does not go according to plan.
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Publisher's Summary

An irresistible, deftly observed novel about the secrets, joys, and jealousies that rise to the surface over the course of an American family's two-week stay in Mallorca.

For the Posts, a two-week trip to the Balearic island of Mallorca with their extended family and friends is a celebration: Franny and Jim are observing their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, and their daughter, Sylvia, has graduated from high school. The sunlit island, its mountains and beaches, its tapas and tennis courts, also promise an escape from the tensions simmering at home in Manhattan. But all does not go according to plan: over the course of the vacation, secrets come to light, old and new humiliations are experienced, childhood rivalries resurface, and ancient wounds are exacerbated.

This is a story of the sides of ourselves that we choose to show and those we try to conceal, of the ways we tear each other down and build each other up again, and the bonds that ultimately hold us together. With wry humor and tremendous heart, Emma Straub delivers a richly satisfying story of a family in the midst of a maelstrom of change, emerging irrevocably altered yet whole.

©2014 Emma Straub (P)2014 Penguin Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (128 )
5 star
 (23)
4 star
 (40)
3 star
 (45)
2 star
 (14)
1 star
 (6)
Overall
3.3 (113 )
5 star
 (15)
4 star
 (36)
3 star
 (39)
2 star
 (12)
1 star
 (11)
Story
3.8 (113 )
5 star
 (28)
4 star
 (52)
3 star
 (24)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (5)
Performance
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  •  
    Toby Portsmouth, NH, United States 06-01-14
    Toby Portsmouth, NH, United States 06-01-14 Member Since 2010

    Anglophile. Prefer only British fiction and mysteries. Good translations of Italian, too.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    81
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    59
    59
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    4
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    Performance
    Story
    "Engaging beginning, but interest declines"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I am not an editor, but I wish the initial narrative lived up to the rest of the book. I did not finish this book. I read too much to ask for a return credit. I kept hoping it would pick up and develop, but it only got more boring as it went along.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Emma Straub? Why or why not?

    I probably would, as I liked the descriptive prose of Majorca and travel in general. I just wish the main character had sustained the initial interest.


    What aspect of Kristen Sieh’s performance would you have changed?

    The reader was okay enough, given the lameness of the last half of the book. I wish it could have concentrated more on the main character's career and food, etc.


    Could you see The Vacationers being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Not relevant. I do not watch movies.


    Any additional comments?

    I had very high hopes for this novel. I love novels that take place in other countries. I just fel that about halfway through, the author gave up or something and did not follow through with the character developments. Such good characters, too! It just was not adequately completed. I would have liked more about the gay couple, for example. It was hard to see why the older gay man even liked the married woman so much s she was pretty boring and unlikeable.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tammy Millet, Alberta, Canada 06-10-14
    Tammy Millet, Alberta, Canada 06-10-14 Member Since 2005

    Wife, mom of one amazing son, and I have the second best job in the world, working in a bookstore :)

    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    38
    32
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    Story
    "Why?"
    Would you try another book from Emma Straub and/or Kristen Sieh?

    The narrator Kristen did a good job, but the story just lacked substance, nothing connected you to the characters to like them. It really was a novel about nothing and no I will not read another Emma Straub novel.


    Has The Vacationers turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No


    What about Kristen Sieh’s performance did you like?

    I liked how she could easily change from one character to another with accents, voice change, very well done.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment. I spent a credit on this and I had to listen to this for a book club.


    Any additional comments?

    I truly cannot recommend this book. Not even as a fluffy summer read.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan D Somerset, NJ USA 07-07-14
    Susan D Somerset, NJ USA 07-07-14 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    165
    6
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    2
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fast & fun"
    What did you love best about The Vacationers?

    A highly entertaining read — clever & witty enough to occupy me for a day. Some readers apparently thought these characters were too predictable, but that predictability served the satire as far as I was concerned. And along the way, as in the best satires, I got to internally ponder questions that interest me like: what's it REALLY like being rich and owning a townhouse in Manhattan; do I need to spend some time in Majorca; can marriages survive infidelity; how do children deal with their parents and vice versa; what should you do with a 30 something son who's a lunkhead; should 55 year olds have babies; do people need to lose their virginity in Europe before starting college, why didn't I do that?, how do you cook a meal with very little in the cupboard; how do type A people who are fired for not being able to resist that provocative intern suddenly handle all that free time? You know - the serious stuff.


    What did you like best about this story?

    the shifting POV


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beverly Flovilla, Georgia, United States 06-18-14
    Beverly Flovilla, Georgia, United States 06-18-14 Member Since 2012

    Hello! I'm a full-time nurse, part-time reader, chef, gardener and stylist! Love all my hobbies. Oh, and mother to Marley (shih-tzu) and Sam

    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
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    22
    14
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    3
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It's Okay"

    This is a quick listen so there is not a lot of commitment to the book or to the characters. The characters are not well explored and I didn't find myself attached to any of them. I thought the premiss was a good one and it could have been a fantastic book had it dug a little deeper into the thoughts and feelings of the characters.
    It is okay, just okay.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RueRue Orange County, CA 06-03-14
    RueRue Orange County, CA 06-03-14 Member Since 2013

    RueRue

    HELPFUL VOTES
    108
    ratings
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    117
    112
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    FOLLOWING
    6
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Bland"
    What disappointed you about The Vacationers?

    The story seemed flat.


    What was most disappointing about Emma Straub’s story?

    None of the characters was particularly sympathetic or likable, so I didn't really care about anyone.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Kristen Sieh?

    Yes, her narration was fine


    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beth Anne Philadelphia, PA, United States 07-06-14
    Beth Anne Philadelphia, PA, United States 07-06-14 Member Since 2012

    i like to read. i like to listen.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    103
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    "excellent narration, great summer book"

    what a satisfying novel.

    family has turmoil. family goes on two week vacation to Mallorca. family forced all together to confront turmoil. family comes out the other side.

    i rooted for this family. i wanted everything to turn out ok. every single character was spot on...each of them had parts to love, and parts to hate. just like a regular family. the writing was easy, floating along between characters unraveling all the complexities of each of them...

    great book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D Maryland, USA 06-16-14
    D Maryland, USA 06-16-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    "Meh"

    A reasonable enough beach read with semi-interesting characters but the relationship between each couple wasn't explore enough to make the ending credible.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eileen Chicago, IL, United States 08-15-14
    Eileen Chicago, IL, United States 08-15-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    18
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    0
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    Story
    "Boring characters"
    Would you try another book from Emma Straub and/or Kristen Sieh?

    Kristen was a good narrator - on the other hand Emma's book was so boring.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Emma Straub again?

    No


    What does Kristen Sieh bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Patience


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Vacationers?

    From page one to the end.


    Any additional comments?

    Shallow characters - I never really cared what happened to any of them with the exception of Bobby's girlfriend. Thank goodness for her she walked away from this awful cast of characters called a "family." Without a doubt the most pathetic portrayal of a young girl's loss of chosen lost of virginity, totally void of any feeling. Emma claimed the daughter was a virgin yet wrote her first love scene as though she has been around the block more than once.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    peg 07-24-14
    peg 07-24-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    2
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Performance
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    "Disappointment"
    What disappointed you about The Vacationers?

    There was no story completion in any of the plots.poor character development and an awful ending


    What was most disappointing about Emma Straub’s story?

    Poor ending


    What aspect of Kristen Sieh’s performance would you have changed?

    She was fine


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment .after great review as good beach book it was very weak


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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