Like any other woman, Amy Harrington is committed to getting into shape before her wedding. Though everyone tells her she has a great body, her curves embarrass her, and she refuses to pick a wedding dress until she is happy with the way she looks.
Determined to take whatever steps are necessary, she schedules a visit at a health spa in Mexico for two weeks with her two best friends from college, Leah and Caitlyn. However, in the week before she is scheduled to go to Mexico, Amy begins flirting with a handsome man in her office. Panicking, she asks herself if it means anything; does she really love her fiancé, Eric? If she does, then why does she dream about passionate sex with a stranger? And speaking of sex, why has her and Eric’s sex life become so dull? As Amy grapples with these difficult questions, Caitlyn and Leah have their own issues to face on their two-week vacation. The three women come together and do what best friends do: discuss their problems, laugh about old times and challenge each other in ways that no one could ever have imagined.
Spa Vacation is a fun, enjoyable story about the nature of love, whether it’s loving ourselves or someone else. Caitlyn learns that her usual ways of stringing multiple men along while only looking out for herself may not be as satisfying as she once thought. She has to learn to love herself and start caring about other people, something with which she has struggled all her life. Leah is addicted to her job and hasn’t had a serious relationship in the years since her last ended in heartbreak. She has to learn to trust and love again – the question is, will she find that opportunity at a health spa in Mexico?
Finally, there’s Amy, who perhaps faces the most interesting - and most common - dilemma of all. What is left when romantic love fades away? The notion of romantic love versus family love is most popularly tackled in the novel Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Tolstoy’s main point was that in any long-term relationship, eventually the grand passion will fade away. What replaces it is a gentler, more tender family love – for example, seeing a woman as the mother of your children, rather than simply as the blond bombshell that she is (but not discounting the fact that she is a hot blonde, either). Every relationship faces this crisis at some point, so what should be done about it? What can be done about it? Coming to terms with these issues is important, and it really is satisfying to see Amy face them, especially since the way love is portrayed in chick-lit type novels is often unrealistic. As enjoyable as it is to read about a woman who has been married for ten years and still makes love to her husband passionately twice a day, the reality of life is that situations such as this rarely happen. Here we see this rather tenuous subject addressed without any type of shame or embarrassment, but as a fact of life.
Spa Vacation is witty, funny, and well-written. Although some of the characters are sometimes difficult to sympathize with, the situations they face and circumstances life presents them make the book worth reading. It’s a great beach or vacation read, and highly recommended for any woman who is about to get married!