Oh My Goodness! I’m in People We Meet on Vacation

Several of the people and places I look to for book recommendations have said this was a good and fun summer read, so I requested it from our library. I just came in, and I’ve just started it. I have an inkling of what may happen, but I’ve deliberately tried to avoid any spoiler reviews that I’ve run across. So far, it is pretty well written and entertaining for something that is advertised as a “perfect beach book.”

However, I was really struck by this passage. It takes place when two people who don’t really know each other are driving home from college and quizzing each other about their likes and dislikes. The man, Alex, says he hates themed parties. The woman, Poppy, replies:

“I love themed parties,” I tell him.

“Of course you do,” he says. “You’re good at them.”

I narrow my eyes at him, put my feet on the dashboard, then take them back down when I see the anxious creases at the corners of his mouth. “Are you stalking me, Alex?” I ask.

He shoots me a horrified look. “Why would you say something like that?”

His expression makes me cackle again. “Relax, I’m kidding. But how do you know I’m ‘good at’ themed parties? I’ve seen you at one party, and it was not themed.”

“It’s not about that,” he says. “You’re just…always sort of in costume.” He hurries to add, “I don’t mean in a bad way. You’re just always dressed pretty…. …

“I just mean that for you, it seems like a theme party might as well just be a Tuesday. But for me, it means I stand in front of my closet for, like, two hours trying to figure out how to look like a dead celebrity out of my tent identical shirts and five identical pants.”

This made me laugh out loud, because this is the story of me and my husband when we were dating. I, too, LOVE themed parties, and while I wouldn’t call most of my wardrobe a “costume,” I have many costume-adjacent items in my closet that I’ll wear outside of going to a party. And most of my clothes are pretty…well, let’s just call them “colorful” and/or “blingy.” I can’t remember the specifics, but one time I was supposed to be part of a group wearing coordinated outfits and we were all supposed to wear brown. I went home and looked, and I didn’t have ONE SINGLE brown top, bottom, dress, skirt, blouse, or pant––not even shoes. (I have since acquired a faux leopard skin jacket that has some brown, but that wasn’t the look they were going for.) I typically dress for just every holiday I know of from many cultures (although less so during our COVID quarantine, although I haven’t abandoned it entirely).

My husband, on the other hand, buys exclusively five colors exclusively: white, black, gray, dark blue, and khaki. And he does the exact same thing as Alex in the book; he will buy multiples of the exact same shirt or pants in the exact same color.

True story: When we were dating, I was living in downtown Washington DC in the Dupont Circle neighborhood and he was living in Cary, NC (outside of Raleigh). I didn’t own a car, because I believe owning a car in the city is a pain and expensive. So while he would drive up to visit me, I would usually take the Amtrak train down from Union Station DC to Cary to visit him.

One time when I arrive, he gave me this strange look when I walked off the train. “What?” I asked. “Is there something wrong with my outfit.”

“Well, no,” he replied. “It’s just…well, you look really….urban.”

“I just got off a train from Washington DC,” I said. “I AM urban.”

Obviously, we worked it out. I just share the story because it’s so fun when I see myself reflected in a book or a movie.

I’m looking forward to see how everything turns out in the book. But now it’s got my attention way above a normal “beach read” book.

So, have you had a passage in a book that really reflected your actual life? If so, please share below in the comments.

2 thoughts on “Oh My Goodness! I’m in People We Meet on Vacation

  1. That was a very fun sharing from the novel, and your own personal experience. They do say that art imitates life. Thank you.


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