The Floating Feldmans by Elyssa Friedland

The Floating Feldmans

Elyssa Friedland

Between the troublesome family secrets, old sibling rivalries, and her two teenage grandkids, Annette’s birthday vacation on a cruise is looking more and more like the perfect storm.

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A family vacation dredges up a boatload of trouble in the next witty, insightful novel from the acclaimed author of The Intermission.

"An irresistible drama filled with humor and heart-tugging emotion about family and what it means to belong. I absolutely adore Friedland's warm, witty writing!"—Emily Giffin, #1 New York Times bestselling author of All We Ever Wanted

Sink or swim. Or at least that's what Annette Feldman tells herself when she books a cruise for her entire family. It's been over a decade since the Feldman clan has spent more than twenty-four hours under the same roof, but Annette is determined to celebrate her seventieth birthday the right way. Just this once, they are going to behave like an actual family.

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.

Advance Galley Reviews

What initially drew me to The Floating Feldmans was the synopsis. I was all for a family having to work through their issues while on a cruise to celebrate the birthday of the family matriarch. I was excited to see what Elyssa Friedland did with the drama aspect of the story. However, it was quickly apparent within the first few chapters that the story just wasn’t for me. The writing was good. However, several scenes and offhanded comments made by the characters during their internal monologue, were eyebrow raising and off-putting. That being said, I still think others would likely enjoy The Floating Feldmans and the topics that it addressed, concerning old wounds between estranged family members.... Thanks to First to Read for an eARC of this book!

Fun summer read - family drama with an abundance of secrets and lies. Good beach (or cruise) read, very light and entertaining. I will say the characters were pretty unlikeable, but it was still fairly comical.

The Feldmans' matriarch Annette has organized a cruise for her family for her 70th Birthday, not that she celebrates birthdays, because a woman never tells her age. But, a last hoorah so to speak because her husband David is dying. The family doesn't get together much, and so this is their chance to catch up on everything they've missed. But this get together doesn't go as planned, in fact, it spectacularly bombs, and this is the joy of The Floating Feldmans. The story was told in alternating viewpoints, mainly Elise's, but also Freddy's, and Annettes. We have Elise, her husband, and her two children. I didn't like Elise from the start, she just seemed too uppity for me. But then her dirty secret started to reveal itself, her addiction to shopping, and it made her a bit more normal in my eyes. While I didn't like her, she made a good, unlikable character. Freddy was a good guy and I liked him from the start. He didn't want to end up like his family, and he didn't want to be the lost cause they had always declared of him. So turning your life around and become a multi-millionaire seems like just the way to do it. Only his family doesn't know of his fortune and how he made it. This was a fun read for me, I liked the characters, both likable and not, and I liked the storyline. I knew from the blurb that things were going to go spectacularly wrong, and they did. A large portion of the book was setting up our characters, and I think the author did it well because it was a more complete storyline. There were amusing parts, but it wasn't the hilarity I was expecting from the genre it was labeled. But I don't think that detracts from how good the book is. A very enjoyable read.

Did not finish. After days of trying to connect with the characters I have to admit defeat. I tried, but I couldn't care about these people.

Happy. Sad. Upsetting. Uplifting. Some of all of the above. Pretty entertaining. No big surprises.

3.5 stars This was a pretty enjoyable read about family members who all seem to be hiding some sort of secret from one another. I do think it was a clever idea by the author to have most of the story take place on a cruise ship as it led to some interesting situations. Annette Feldman decides she wants to do something special for her 70th birthday so she organizes a vacation on a cruise ship for her family. So Annette, her husband, her daughter, her son-in-law, two grandkids, her son and his girlfriend all climb aboard the ship, some more excited than others. Hmm, complicated family dynamics playing out in a confined space for a week. I'm sure nothing could go wrong. *wink, wink. The story follows the different family members so you do get an opportunity to see things from each person's perspective. I can't say I liked each person but at least there was nobody I outright hated which was a problem I had when reading the author's book,

Many thanks to the publisher for gifting this book in exchange for an honest review. This book checked so many boxes for me , dysfunctional family , teenagers (and adults ) behaving badly all tied up with a bow. Perfect summer vacay read.

Annette is turning 70, and her birthday wish is to take her entire family on a cruise to spend some wonderful quality time together. For an entire week, the family will be trapped together on a cruise ship with no way to escape. This is the perfect trope for a delightful, uproarious family comedy. Elise, her daughter, is dealing with a secret addiction; her husband, Mitch, has a major announcement to make once the entire family gathered; and their kids are both hiding some aspects of their lives. Elise’s feckless loser brother Freddy is also coming, along with his younger girlfriend Natasha, and somehow Freddy isn’t such a loser anymore, but that’s quite the surprise. With these family dynamics, I was expecting the satirical family comedy that I love, like Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners by Gretchen Anthony or Jonathan Tropper’s This is Where I Leave You and The Book of Joe. I wanted the over-the-top family explosions that come from family members with their own quirks, personalities, and triggers, being caught together in a forced-relationship crucible. In The Floating Feldmans, a large portion of the book is spent on set up, with each character getting their own omniscient narration. Friedland allows each character time to explain their troubles and role in the family, which goes on for quite some time. Once everyone is on board the ship I expected major comedic entertainment from everyone confronting one another, but aside from one moderate argumentative dinner, this never really came to pass. I wanted hilarity, awkwardness, and spontaneous pandemonium that never materialized. A few characters, such as the phlegmatic patriarch David and the one-dimensional cruise director Julian, were even superfluous and irrelevant. Regardless, there’s a sweet ending and the family loves one another, despite the truths that come out. All in all, it was okay. It was entertaining, but never engaging enough for me to look forward to reading more. Many thanks to Penguin FirstToRead for the advance copy.

DNF @ 100 pages. I am so surprised to not finish this given the many great reviews this book is getting. I'm not sure it's the story that is my problem. I think it's the writing style. The character's conversational narratives are broken up too much. A character will ask a question to another character and the author will give you three or four paragraphs, sometimes even a page, of the internal dialogue or backstory of the character before the character answers the question. Sometimes I would have to go back a page to even remember what the conversation was about. It was just too disjointed for me. I'm disappointed because the story began with a huge bang that I wanted to find the backstory to.

Wow, I can’t believe how much in enjoyed the book! The first few chapters were a little slow for me and I was worried I’d enjoy the book, but then it really caught my attention and I zipped through. The family was both crazy enough to be zany, but just real enough you could relate.

this was a ton of fun! really enjoyable.


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