Remember last spring and summer when everyone was talking about The Vacationers by Emma Straub? When it was referenced in several magazines as a summer must-read or a perfect vacation read? And the chances of getting it from the library were slim to none? Well, finally my number came up and I got it from the library.
It took me about a week to read The Vacationers. For me that is a long time to spend on a book that is neither complex nor lengthy. I spent most of that time thinking I was missing something or that I just didn’t get it. The Vacationers is a very simple story of a family on vacation. Each character has his or her own personal struggle or secret to deal with, but not of it is startling or revealing. In fact, it was kind of boring.
So why all the hype about The Vacationers? Marketing and timing. It was the perfect, non-controversial book to throw at thousands of unsuspecting buyers for a good summer vacation read. It does not take to much effort to read. There are no complex story or character nuances to keep track of. And most of all, it really couldn’t offend anybody. It was just sort of there.
Who would like this book? Well, according to innumerable magazines, just about everybody who’s going on vacation or dreaming about it. But from where I sit, many people may like this book – it’s completely innocuous. And I don’t think many will hate it. Overall, i can’t see it provoking a strong reaction from anyone. For that try Herman Koch’s Summer House With Swimming Pool. For another look at a family vacation where secrets really do come to light try Tigers In Red Weather, which I highly recommend.
Yes, the book was hohum. I just reread my review and it is easy to tell I had little to say about this book.
I haven’t read this book, but I was pretty suspicious of the marketing blitz last year. It doesn’t seem like my kind of read, and I’m glad to hear someone with similar taste confirm that idea.
The thing that got me about it was the family vacation. i like a family-gets-together-and-disaster-ensues kind of book. But this was not that kind of book. Shouldn’t have fallen for the hype.
Bleck. I think I’ll skip it. Based on the hype, I expected there to be more heft!
I do remember when this book was everywhere. I also remember many reviewers eventually talking about how there wasn’t much to the hype, lol. You’ve confirmed it.
I’ll go with my original instincts and continue to avoid this book. I don’t usually go for books that are marketed as great vacation reads, or beach reads. When I go on vacation I want something I can really sink my teeth into. A lot of people did seem to like this book, though.
Funny, I felt this way about Tigers in Red Weather. Just kinda – there.
Seriously? For some reason Tigers has really stuck with me. Maybe it is a case of right book at the right time.
I loved the first narrator and was disappointed when the story didn’t come back to her. Some of the images from that section have stayed with me. Like when she threw the radio (I think? some small appliance!) I loved that. I have a full picture of her in my mind.
Hmmm. I liked the second narrator better. and i just heard she has a new book coming out in april!
Oh good! I had a feeling it was hype, but I always like to be reassured that I didn’t miss anything.
Yep, nothing missed. Even the descriptions of Mallorca left me feeling meh.
That’s great! I have finally got a copy from the library and I think it might now be in my DNF pile!!! I tried I did but it is just dull 😦
I hate it when you wait forever for a book and then it just doesn’t live up to expectations.
This has been on my list for forever! Maybe it’s not a bad thing that I haven’t read it! If I do end up reading it, it sounds like a library book.
Definite library read.
Guess I’m not bumping this book up the wishlist any time soon. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this title!
Nah this one didn’t even appeal to me to pick up. I passed on the hype. Good to know you didnt see much in it
For the most part, books like this drive me crazy. But every once in while . . . it’s just the kind of book I need.
I agree. And then we remember why they drive us crazy.