Another classic Emma Straub cover that I adore! Modern Lovers is similar to The Vacationers in the sense that it is light, fun, and interesting. I’m not usually one to read so many light-hearted books, but it must be the warmer weather rubbing off on me! (And probably simultaneously wishing I was reading these on a beach somewhere). I enjoy Emma Straub’s writing; I think it is witty and perfectly calculated for the genre. No, her books aren’t the most thought-provoking, emotional stories but they are fun and easy to read with characters who are very relatable with baggage and problems that will make you laugh.
Modern Lovers follows two families living in a neighborhood of New York City: Andrew, Elizabeth and teenage son Harry plus Zoe, Jane and recent high school graduate daughter Ruby. Andrew, Elizabeth and Zoe used to be college bandmates who produced a song that actually was a big hit back in the day. Since then they’ve been inseparable, living together post-college and even moving next door to each other where their children grew up with one another. They were the best friends that everyone envied – until the summer that changed everything. Unexpected relationships formed, past history resurfaced, marital challenges emerged, and friendships were tested. The relationship dynamic among the characters were dysfunctial and imperfect, just like real life.
I personally thought the storyline in The Vacationers was more invigorating and captivating, but I also enjoyed Modern Lovers. I liked that each chapter was told through a different character’s point of view. It jumped around a lot but not in such a way that it was difficult to follow. As I’ve mentioned, Emma Straub’s writing is seamless and her ability to tie stories together is so enjoyable to read. I will admit, I’m shocked that the book didn’t give more attention to Zoe and Jane’s relationship as a gay and interracial couple who has a daughter conceived from a family member’s sperm donation. That’s a lot, right? I loved this couple, but was disappointed that we didn’t get to know more about their personal lives as a diverse couple living in modern America.
All in all, I enjoyed this book and the characters. The ending did feel a bit rushed and incomplete, but this didn’t hinder my rating. I liked the last “chapter”, told through newspaper articles that gave us a bit of an update on all of the characters. Yet another easy and fun read brought to us by Emma Straub, I’d recommend grabbing this one for your summer reading collection! It would be perfect paired with sunshine, a pool and a strawberry daiquiri (or two).
*FYI – I’m currently reading ANOTHER Emma Straub book and the review will be up soon. Apparently I’m a sucker for this cover art…