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Book Review – The Vacationers

I picked up this book because of the cover. 

It is a nice cover.

Really, the little illustrated people are living my fuckin life man. I’m telling you. Little illustrated people. Fork over the secret to looking this laid back. I can’t remember the last time I felt at all inclined to just float along in my red bikini looking like I just don’t give a fuck in some beautiful place where you can see my shadow on the ocean floor.

Right.

The story inside of this book shocked me. It really is not what I had expected when I picked up the book and it perhaps made me love it more. I think the cover designer had the ingenious idea of designing it how the Post family, our protagonist/antagonist main characters, hoped their vacation would be, though knowing it wouldn’t be that way at all considering their tendencies to live lives that don’t come together well. 

The Vacationers follows the Posts on their trip to Mallorca, Spain for two weeks where secrets come out, family members turn against each other, family friends receive some big, life-changing news, and everyone is just all sorts of insecure and jaded by their current situations.

Forget how depressing it sounds, it was awesome. 

Let’s start with my favorite character, Sylvia.

Yo. This chick is one awesome human. 

Sylvia is fresh out of high school, hot off a terrible night of drinking promiscuously, and just looking for a way to prove to the world that she has what it takes to be “that girl.” You know the one I’m talking about. 

The care-free hoe.

Some of my favorite lines involving Sylvia:

There was a thump from upstairs, and then the creak of a door slowly opening. Sylvia appeared at the top of the stairs, on her hands and knees.

“I’m jet-lagged,” she said.

“Come and help us with our bags!” Bobby said, his voice booming.

“Yessir, I’ll get right on that,” Sylvia said, before turning around and crawling back into her room. The door closed with a thunk.

I love her I love her I love her.

Sylvia thought it was hysterical how little her mother knew about her life, when her job was supposed to be about paying attention to details. Franny knew everything about how to make mole according to some Mexican grandmother’s recipe that she learned in Oaxaca in 1987, but she had no idea that Gabe Thrash was coming over to lick her daughter’s rib cage on a regular basis.

I’m still dying over the pure genius of this line. EMMA, GOD DAMMIT WOMAN YOU ARE GOOD.

As a character, Sylvia soared off the pages. I particularly like how inclined she is to remind the reader how boring she looks and how she intends to make herself look less boring with clothes she didn’t bring. 

Franny and Sylvia sort of stole the show for me. I didn’t get enough from Charles and Lawrence, and definitely not enough from Jim to get a good idea about him, though I love the way he analyzes past situations. The good thing about him is whenever he comes in through the story, I always know that he’s going to have something completely obscene to say. Something dirty and completely graphic. It added a nice dimension to the tale. A nice masculine touch.

Bobby and Carmen were cool, I liked their story, their romance, which was a total dud. I liked the idea of introducing this female character that needed to prove herself. It gave the story the type of tension it needed to have the reader sort of cringing.

Bobby is fucking pathetic. I don’t know what else to say about him other than I hate his guts. 

Fuck you, Jo-aaaan.

Charles and Lawrence, thank god they were there. They relieved the reader when the reader needed to be relieved. When the Posts were attacking each other and the reader had about had it, bum bum bum, Lawrence and Charles to the rescue.

Their story gave you the insider’s view on a part of life that is so immensely difficult to navigate, I’m sure. And that is being gay in the 21st century. Or any century for that matter. The sweetness of their relationship was so wonderful, so so delightful and warm and bright and sparkly. Nicely done.

Love Lawrence, I liked him much more than Charles. He was just so real, he wanted so badly to fit in, but not enough to ever conform, and everything he did and said just carried over so well.

Even though Franny was there for the majority of the story, I really didn’t get to know her well enough. I know Sylvia so well, but Franny, not so much. I didn’t feel like she did enough of the same–other than the typical things a mother busies herself with–for me to related to her. 

Like yes she cooks, but I read 300 pages of her family and still don’t understand what she does for a living. Yes, she likes everything to be planned out, but why? 

I really didn’t like the way that Franny talked to the majority of the people she talked to, and whenever the book roved back to her, I was sort of bracing myself for whatever obnoxious thing she was about to do. 

My favorite line involving Franny:

The water! Franny wanted to run toward it with her hands clasping open and closed like a lobster’s claws, to hold on to it, a shimmery dream.

Amazing. Emma strikes again.

That was what I liked so much about this story, the language. The way it was told. The imagery was amazing, everything was so consistent, and the scenery changed through out. She did this wonderful thing that more authors need to do, which is describe rooms and scenes in great detail, but sprinkle that detail throughout the story, so every time a character comes back to the room, something new is there. 

My personal favorite line out of the whole damn book (and this was a hard pick, this book is littered with beautiful lines):

She was a heterosexual human being, and he was made out of Mallorcan clouds and dreams.

It’s simple, but it is so so so vivid. Bravo.

I will read another one of Emma’s books not for the story, but for the language, she has such a way with words. 

If you like good literary fiction with three-dimensional characters, this book is for you. Though brace yourself, you might feel like an outsider the entire time just because the characters never let you in enough. 

All in all, great read, phenomenal pacing, and the ending FUCKIN ROCKED!!!! I LOVE WELL-ROUNDED ENDINGS, YOU GUYS KNOW THIS ABOUT ME. A+ ENDING. A+

35/38

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