REVIEW: The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

Source: Own
Publish Date: April 9th 2013
Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover
ASIN/ISBN: 9781594488399
Format: EPUB
Genre: Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 480
Date Finished: October 4, 2014

The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed. In The Interestings, Wolitzer follows these characters from the height of youth through middle age, as their talents, fortunes, and degrees of satisfaction diverge.

The kind of creativity that is rewarded at age fifteen is not always enough to propel someone through life at age thirty; not everyone can sustain, in adulthood, what seemed so special in adolescence. Jules Jacobson, an aspiring comic actress, eventually resigns herself to a more practical occupation and lifestyle. Her friend Jonah, a gifted musician, stops playing the guitar and becomes an engineer. But Ethan and Ash, Jules’s now-married best friends, become shockingly successful—true to their initial artistic dreams, with the wealth and access that allow those dreams to keep expanding. The friendships endure and even prosper, but also underscore the differences in their fates, in what their talents have become and the shapes their lives have taken.


… by designating something new, you are already hastening its oldness

I really enjoyed this book. This book is perfect

I did not want it to end.

… she sat in a corner on the unswept floor and attempted to position herself so she would appear unobtrusive yet not pathetic, which was a difficult balance

My favourite character is Jules because in some ways, I identify with her.
I can relate with her. In the beginning, she is jealous, petty, self-absorbed, and obsessed with comparing her life to that of her friends.

Nobody tells you how long you should keep doing something before you give up forever.

The Interestings is a book that follows a group of six children who meet at a camp for kids to explore their creativity. Four of them remain close friends even after camp. The camp has mostly rich kids, but there are some “scholarship kids”. Jules and Ethan are scholarship kids. The other four are Ash, Jonah, Goodman and Cindy.

A first kiss, Jules had thought, was supposed to magnetize you to the other person; the magnet and the metal were meant to fuse and melt on contact into a sizzling brew of silver and red

The story doesn’t just end with the kids as teenagers, but we follow their lives through adulthood, marriage and having kids.
Wolitzer does a good job of writing a story that is truthful and mostly accurate to what life is like for teenagers. There might have been a little exaggeration with the ease of access to drugs etc.
The story is told mostly from Jules’ perspective but sometimes we see things from Ethan and Jonah’s perspectives.

But she knew that you didn’t always have to marry your soulmate, and you didn’t even have to marry an Interesting. You didn’t always need to be the dazzler, the firecracker, the one who cracked evryone up, or made everyone want to sleep with you, or be the one who wrote and starred in the play that got the standing ovation. You could cease to be obsessed with the idea of being interesting

I love how she describes the relationships – friendships, romances, family.
The awkwardness of teenage years; trying desperately to blend in with people; feeling inadequate or incapable in “their” midst.
The book made me laugh, think, question, wonder, and sometimes, it even shocked me.

Sex at twenty-two wasn’t college sex at eighteen, which carried with it a freight of insecurities, nerve endings, and shame. Sex at twenty-two also wasn’t self-sex at twelve, which was just about being quiet and discreet in your narrow bed and thinking how strange it was that you could feel this way just by doing this.

She writes things that people like to not talk about in a simple, yet humorous way. The story flows well and you’re never left confused about what’s going on.
You can’t actually dislike any of the characters. They all have redeemable qualities in all of the bad.

Part of the beauty of love was that you didn’t need to explain it to anyone else. You could refuse to explain. With love apparently, you didn’t necessarily feel the need to explain anything at all.

Being a teenager, I understand the some of the points in this book. Because, I ask myself from time these questions sometimes.
“Who will I be when I grow older?” “What’s in the world for me?” “Will my dreams and hopes come true?” “How much would my life be different/easier if I had “wealthier” parents?”

Love transcended all of this, apparently. Love transcended breath, eczema, fear of sex, and an imbalance in physical appearance. If love was real, then these bodily, human details could seem insignificant.

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5 Stars

I really wasn’t expecting a very thought provoking book but this book surprised me and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone.

Have you read The Interestings? What did you think of it. Let me know your thoughts in the comments


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