Brown, Eleanor- Any Other Family
Straub, Emma- The Vacationers
Any Other Family
Imagine a family with four young siblings being brought up in three different households, but those three households have banded together as one extended family. This book is partly about what makes up a family, and partly about open adoption. The three mothers especially: what brought them to this family, what each of them wants and expects from family in general and each other, what each is willing to do or give up for the kids. The three moms all have different backgrounds and needs, and when they go away on a group vacation, some resentments that have been on a slow simmer boil over. I loved the family in this book. It was hopeful without being cloying, and the characters were good people without being unrealistically perfect. They work through some communication issues on their vacation without the whole family being magically sorted by the end of the book. I picked this up because I loved The Weird Sisters. I didn't know that I missed a book in-between, so I'll probably get that one, too.
I usually am annoyed by books or movies in which people sort out their wholes lives while on vacation. I had to roll my eyes several times, but I still enjoyed this book. I didn't like some of the main characters and didn't usually have any sympathy for their problems, but somehow I liked it. A couple rocked by adultery who might get a divorce when their youngest child goes to college go to Spain on vacation. The wife's best friend and his husband come along. Her adult son comes, and brings his girlfriend. She's the only character that I really liked, and they all hate her. Even when the mom is admitting to herself that neither of her own children are helping in the kitchen while the girlfriend does, she still can't like this woman. They're all relieved (SPOILER) when this woman finally loses patience, dumps the loser son, and runs for it, and I was cheering for her. It's the best part of the book. This was my first book by this author, and I will probably read more now.