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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 Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    124
  • 4 Stars
    216
  • 3 Stars
    221
  • 2 Stars
    57
  • 1 Stars
    25

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    187
  • 4 Stars
    223
  • 3 Stars
    108
  • 2 Stars
    23
  • 1 Stars
    14

Story

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    91
  • 4 Stars
    161
  • 3 Stars
    207
  • 2 Stars
    70
  • 1 Stars
    33
Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Toby
  • Portsmouth, NH, United States
  • 06-01-14

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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Susan D
  • Somerset, NJ USA
  • 07-07-14

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

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Beverly
  • Flovilla, Georgia, United States
  • 06-18-14

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Beth Anne
  • Philadelphia, PA, United States
  • 07-06-14

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A Beach Read With More Than Meets The Eye

I was having trouble finding an audiobook to follow up Heartburn by Nora Ephron, read by Meryl Streep. I tried & rejected about 6 different options before landing on The Vacationers, which ended up being purely wonderful.

This book is clearly marketed as a beach read — that dreamy, watery cover, the lighthearted title — and it is, indeed, about a New York family who rents a vacation house in Majorca where sexy teenage Spanish tutors and hot silver fox tennis stars abound. It also has an easy-going, carefree style that makes it fun to listen to. But I think there's actually a lot more going on in this book than first meets the eye.

As the days in Majorca tick by, we learn about family secrets, lies, and betrayals, and The Vacationers has a lot of smart things to say about how those things unfold and whether they can (or should) be repaired. It covers a swathe of characters of all ages and situations, all of whom are fully realized. Emma Straub does justice to female characters who are often invisible — I loved Franny, the middle-aged matriarch, and Carmen, the 40-year-old body-building girlfriend who turns the "cougar" trope on its head.

This was a thoughtful and enjoyable read, and I REALLY want to get my hands on more audiobooks read by Kristen Sieh, because she was INCREDIBLE. She has a flawless ear for voices and brought the story to a whole new level. This is going in my bag of go-to audiobook recommendations!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

*eye roll*

What disappointed you about The Vacationers?

I was mostly disappointed by how obviously lame each of the character's were. There wasn't ONE likeable character. I was seriously annoyed with the family's blatant ignorance and 1st world, rich *people issues. The family was dysfunctional but not in a way that made them entertaining - more just grossed me out. What was the point of writing this story?? It was also boring af.
I basically summarize it for you:
1. Teenage girl graduates and can't wait to move out away from her "annoying" parents.
2. Parents are so ridiculous. Dad cheats on wife with 23 year old blonde white girl and mom is like how could you do this? BUT DOESN'T kick him out or divorce him and INSTEAD goes on vacation with him. . .
3. Older brother is a complete scumbag trash. He moves to Florida and gets a hot gf, Carmen, but everyone in his white family dislikes her and thinks she's trash with low self esteem because she works out a lot and is older than their scumbag son. IN REALITY the scumbag son is practically leeching off her, HAS NO MONEY *she, Carmen, got him a job at her work* AND this a**hole has been cheating on her. And then this is the part where you think "Guess the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree" sort of thing.
They all go on vacay and it's the most boring experience ever and they hardly ever leave the house and their "BIG" secrets all come out, but it's all things everyone else with a working brain could see a mile away coming so there's no surprise!
The entire book was a huge waste of time and money and literally did nothing but irritate me. DO NOT BUY IT.

What do you think your next listen will be?

I don't know, but I'm obviously not going to take your recommendations anymore AUDIBLE.

How could the performance have been better?

The author could have written a more entertaining story or at least given her story some sort of moral lesson at the end or some huge plot turn or just made the ending and the lead up not so obvious.

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

Unless that dad is BANGIN' I don't see how a 23 year old would be interested in his 60 year old saggin' ass.
2nd I bet Carmen was a total babe and most latinas would NEVER put up with that white guy, fuckboy BS
3rd the mom must have the lowest self esteem on the planet or she's just an idiot - either way I hated her character and she NEVER developed!
4th the daughter was a straight up MORON. Her scenes were probably the worst parts of the book which happened to be THE MAJORITY of the entire book.

Any additional comments?

I HATED THIS BOOK

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Listen

Fun book to listen to. It's well written and funny - I laughed out loud many times. The characters are wonderful and I loved everyone of them. Kristen Sieh helped with that giving them each a voice. Great summer read, but also a great anytime read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

mostly meh

This is fairly entertaining during relaxing times in the summer. The story itself is very predictable and the character development quite shallow... a rather forgettable story but entertaining enough while sitting at the beach or relaxing in the sun

1 of 1 people found this review helpful