For our book club in September we read beach read The Vacationers by Emma Straub. Although we weren’t very positive about the book itself, there are still recommendations to be made to people who enjoyed parts, aspects or ideas of the book!
If you are willing to give Emma Straub another chance, there is quite a lot you can choose from. Her previous book, Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures is a period piece about a young girl who flees to Hollywood in the 1920’s to become a movie star. Besides this she also wrote Other People We Married, a collection of short stories about how life can be hard sometimes. Her very first work is a composite novel called Fly Over State of only 51 pages. Definitely a quick read!
The Vacationers followed the Post family, an upper class New York literary family. If you like this idea of a family ensemble, especially one hailing from New York, we wholeheartedly recommend reading Franny and Zooey and the accompanying short stories of the Glass Family. The upper class Glass family, thought up by J.D. Salinger, lives in Manhattan and consists of parents and their seven kids who are all dealing with their own problems. Just as in The Vacationers, there is an overbearing matriarch and a somewhat absent father. Most stories will focus on one of the children, while the mother and other siblings move in and out of focus throughout. Franny and Zooey is a collection of a short story and a novella about the two youngest siblings and in these two stories they’re dealing with the disenchantment of the world finding something that could make life worth it. It’s definitely an amazing read.
In The Vacationers Sylvia, the youngest of the Post family, has set a goal for herself. She is to lose her virginity on vacation. Although this story line doesn’t really get picked up until the end of the book, you might want to explore this idea further! Enter The Space Between by Don Aker, an entire book dedicated to the story of a young boy who wants to lose his virginity before he turns 18 and plans to do this while being on vacation with his family.
The Vacationers was meant as a beach read, a book to enjoy while hanging out in the sun, preferably on holiday. If you didn’t like this beach read and would still like to try another, we recommend We Were Liars for anyone with a longing for more YA nonsense. If you look for a more adult book, try I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You. This last book also immediately tackles the cheating aspect of The Vacationers, so you get to go into that as well.
And finally if you are still missing the sun and reading beach reads didn’t satisfy your hunger for warm, fluffy beaches of Mallorca, then give The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh a try. Set on the same island, The Lemon Grove is also about a family vacation. Parents Greg and Jenn brought their daughter Emma and boyfriend Nathan along for a nice trip, but when Nathan catches the eye of Jenn, she can’t get him out of her head. Oh, what the sun and young boys can do to middle aged women.
If you’ve read any of these books, please let us know in the comments what you thought of them. And if you have any further recommendations after reading The Vacationers, we’d love to hear about them!