Book Title and Author: The Floating Feldmans by Elyssa Friedland
Publication Date and Publisher: July 23, 2019 by Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 368 pages
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Date Read: (papercopy from the publisher)
Sink or swim
Too bad her kids didn’t get the memo.
Between the troublesome family secrets, old sibling rivalries, and her two teenage grandkids, Annette’s birthday vacation is looking more and more like the perfect storm. Adrift together on the open seas, the Feldmans will each face the truths they’ve been ignoring–and learn that the people they once thought most likely to sink them are actually the ones who help them stay afloat.
I initially started The Floating Feldmans while sitting poolside at home then, as much as I was enjoying it, had an epiphany and thought, “Wait! I need to take this with me on my family cruise (dad, stepmom, hubby, two sons, and daughter) and read it” because what could be more perfect than that, right? It turns out that I have some really great ideas at times because reading this family drama set on a cruise ship while sailing the high seas was fantastic fun!
Annette Feldman is celebrating a milestone birthday: she’s turning seventy and to celebrate the momentous day, she plans a family cruise for herself, her husband, daughter and her husband, her son and his much younger girlfriend, and two grandkids. This is a family with a very complicated dynamic even before they’re thrown together on a cruise, a fact you immediately glean in the first couple of chapters. Deep secrets and a lack of communication are at the core of their relationships and it’s apparent that the Feldmans really know nothing about each other. With that in mind, what could possibly go wrong among all of them when they’re stuck together in a relatively small, crowded place for 5 days? Speaking from someone who just disembarked from a cruise, anything can and will happen, and I don’t have any big secrets from my family!
Elyssa Friedland tells the story through each of the vivid characters in the book, so you get to know all of them as they tell their story. There is Elise, Annette’s daughter, who has a serious secret that will adversely affect her husband and son (when they find out), yet she has no idea her husband has his own secret. Freddy, the son, has always been thought of just a stoner with no prospects, yet his secret will shock his family! Another big secret is the one being held by David, Annette’s husband…and then there are the grandkids!
Friedland did such an excellent job bringing to life a quirky, dysfunctional family. The novel was humorous at times with witty comments and dry humor. Being on a cruise at the time, I especially enjoyed how Friedland made cruises sound absolutely hellish. I actually thought about jumping ship at one point while reading the book!
No matter how challenging the cruise or the situation, what I loved about this book is it showed how relationships are ever-evolving and how important forgiveness, acceptance, and love is within any relationship. The Floating Feldmans is a clever, insightful summer read that is perfect for a summer vacation or anytime!
**Thank you, Lauren Burnstein, at Berkley Publishing for the gifted copy. All opinions are my own.**