Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Vacationers by Emma Straub

As someone who enjoyed Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures, I was looking forward to reading Emma Straub's latest The Vacationers. Sadly, the book didn't meet my expectations at all. I remember being completely drawn in by the story of Laura Lamont; I was not drawn into the world of the Post family. Potentially due to all the pre-publishing hype, I simply had unrealistic expectations, but I believe the story itself could have been so much better. 

While I enjoyed the opening scene of the novel (the scene in the cab is so typical of New Yorkers), I had a really hard time getting into this novel. I am a compulsive reader who usually finishes a book in a day or two, and I found myself having to work at reading this book. Potentially the fact that it took me so long to reach the end of the story impacted my enjoyment of reading it, but many other books beckoned to me over the same time period.

I love stories about dysfunctional families. And the Posts certainly fit that description. But yet I found most of their conflicts didn't intrigue me. It's not even that they are unlikeable characters (because while they have their foibles I wouldn't define them that way)- they are realistic in some ways but not that worthy of zooming in on. Additionally, the son doesn't seem to fit in his cerebral family. Overall, I just wanted the story to reach its reasonable course and I found so much of the denouement of the story easily predictable and ultimately unsatisfying