As summer reaches a point where weeks before school start are counted on one hand and that beach bod is officially out of the question, I like to reflect on photo memories, books read, and laughs shared in the past two months.
This summer was unique for me because I didn’t make a huge habit out of reading, which is kind of my summer thing, but in that handful of books I read were two new found favorites from author Emma Straub, The Vacationers and Modern Lovers. If you’ve never read the writing of Straub, I strongly urge you to. She has a unique way of creating reader anticipation through multiple third person narrative and the unraveled details of a problem mysterious to the reader (basically the opposite of dramatic irony).
In those two novels, I noticed a pattern. In The Vacationers, readers follow a family beach trip centered around avoiding the elephant in the room and concealing the appearance of chaos. Same instance occurs in Modern Lovers when the dynamic of two families is put to the test as they revisit the past and its risk of exposing secrets. Both include the reality of relational hardships, which is why I think I appreciate them so much. There is no sugar coating, no forgive and forget, no walking away with rainbows and butterflies because none of that is life.
This isn’t to say that there can’t be happy endings because I root for that, trust me! But in life the decisions we make have consequences that affect our present and future, and Straub does an AMAZING job at illustrating the realness that is forgiveness and love.
So while there are still a few weeks left of summer, I recommend picking up these two classics and allowing yourself to experience a truth uncommon to the average teen. I hope you enjoy Straub’s writing as much as I do, and I’m more than excited to continue reading her work.