Update on Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings (by Jill)

the interestings cover

This is another selection from my boss’s Kindle. This book has been on my radar since it first came out in hardcover last year. It’s a story of six friends who meet at summer camp in 1974 and details their lives up to approximately the present day. I’ve had the paperback in my hands multiple times at The Avid Reader in Davis where The Interestings has had a prominent spot on their new releases table since it came out in paperback a few months ago, even read the first couple of pages, but something has kept me from purchasing it. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to relate to the characters because they aren’t of my generation, or something. It’s a good thing I never bought it because the boss ended up buying it on her Kindle! We hate it when we both buy the same books. It seems wasteful.

So like I said, the six primary characters met at a summer camp for the arts in New England in the summer of 1974. They are, in order of apparent importance to the story, as follows: Jules Jacobson, Ash Wolf, Ethan Figman, Jonah Bay, Goodman Wolf (Ash’s brother), and Cathy Kiplinger. Jules is the outsider of the bunch—the last to start going to their summer camp, and the only one to live outside NYC. They dub themselves “The Interestings” during that first summer together—it’s meant sort of ironically. The story flows back and forth in time, but not in a confusing way. The primary story line that starts in 1974 and focuses on the time The Interestings spend together moves forward steadily, with occasional jumps around to learn more about each character’s life apart from the group. The only person we have met in the present day is Jules, along with her husband Dennis. They seem to have a good marriage, and love each other. This doesn’t keep Jules from having a bit of a jealous streak where her dear friends Ash and Ethan are concerned. These two got married and are apparently obscenely well off based on their 2009 Christmas letter. Like, ranch in Colorado, home in NYC, world-travelling philanthropists well off. I’m curious to spend time with them in the present day to see if they are actually as happy as this Christmas letter portrays them. I’m sure I’ll figure it out soon enough.

I really need to figure out how to highlight passages on this Kindle because there have been a few quotations in The Interestings that I have wanted to share, but now I can’t find them. I just looked, and failed. Too bad. They were nice, thoughtful thoughts about the way perspectives change as a person grows up. I love stuff like that. I think Wolitzer is doing a good job of making the dialogue among teenagers as earnest and serious and also somewhat ridiculous as I remember teenagers actually talking sometimes back when I was one. Maybe I didn’t actually talk this way, but I definitely thought and wrote in my diary that way.

I’ve never read anything of Wolitzer’s before, though I do have another of her books, The Ten Year Nap. I may end up adding that one to my Numbers Challenge list if this one continues to entertain me. More later.

This entry was posted in Fiction - general, Fiction - literary, Meg Wolitzer, Reviews by Jill. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Update on Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings (by Jill)

  1. bedstrom says:

    The Ten-Year Nap isn’t very good, and I would recommend staying clear of The Uncoupling. The Position and The Wife are both really good. I like Meg Wolitzer a lot.

    • badkitty1016 says:

      The Uncoupling sounds kind of weird. But The Position and The Wife both sound interesting. Interesting how all of her books are titled “The _________.”

      • bedstrom says:

        I thought The Uncoupling sounded great – but the execution did not live up to the quality of the premise. Yes, her titles are a bit formulaic. Several years ago my boss called me into her office and instructed me to bring her ten books for her vacation (my dynamic with her was the reverse of your dynamic with your boss – I was mostly expected to supply the reading material; it’s an unwritten part of the job description of being an English department chair). I brought The Wife and The Position, which she read happily enough but then berated me in front of several others for giving her “trash” to readf.

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