Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Vacationers - by Emma Straub

This story about a batch of unlike-able characters on a vacation that none of them want to be on in Mallorca, Spain, was good reading material for the airplane ride I took recently. It had a lot of places to break, and didn't require much thought to keep the plot lines and myriad of characters straight. Franny and Jim Post; their two grown children, Bobby and Sylvia; Bobby's much older girlfriend Carmen; and Franny's best friend Charles, and his husband Lawrence negotiate personal issues, and private spaces in the house they rent together.

None of "the vacationers" actually took a trip to a library, although Lawrence did receive an e-mail from the New York Public Library, which he deleted as "junky" along with the forwarded cartoons from his mother, and the J.Crew ads. The other two times any library was mentioned made clear that these folks just didn't see libraries for the spectacular places they are.

Philandering Jim remembers his high school library as the only place he could get attention from girls (to join their study sessions), before he had his growth spurt.

Carmen doesn't see how "being locked up in this house on Mallorca" is a real vacation and likens it to "the day in fourth grade when [her] mother had forgotten to pick her up at the library after school." Of course this Spanish-speaking librarian/blogger would consider being in a library on Mallorca a truly satisfying vacation. To be fair though, I don't blame her for not wanting to spend her vacation with her boyfriend's morose family.

Perhaps if these people knew how to enjoy a good book they would have been happier.

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