The Interestings - Meg Wolitzer

Title: The Interestings
Author: Meg Wolitzer
Pages: 480
Published: 2012
Challenges: Chunkster, I Love Libraries
Genre: Literary Fiction
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description: 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.

Wide in scope, ambitious, and populated by complex characters who come together and apart in a changing New York City, The Interestings explores the meaning of talent; the nature of envy; the roles of class, art, money, and power; and how all of it can shift and tilt precipitously over the course of a friendship and a life. (via

Thoughts: I first heard about this book either through the Bookrageous or through Books on the Nightstand, but I pretty sure I heard about the book through both at some point, and then heard about the book through the New York Times Book Review Podcast, which convinced me that I really did need to read the book and that it did appeal to me.

And I wasn't disappointed with it at all.  While I felt that it took a bit of the story to actually get going, once the story did get going, I really got into the story.  What I really liked was the shift between the characters and how very different their narratives ended up being from each other and reflected their personalities well.  I also liked how they interacted with each other and was really surprised how involved I got with the various characters, especially with Jules.  In fact, I got so involved with the story that I found myself bawling as I finishing up the book.

I don't know why the book struck a chord with me in that manner, but while I didn't like it so much as to garner a higher rating, it was a book that probably will stay with me for a long time.

Bottom line: If you enjoy reading more contemporary pieces of fiction, you probably will enjoy this book.  Or even if you want to read something that allows you to think a bit while being engrossed in a book that allows one to escape for a bit.  Highly recommended.

Rating: 4.5/5

Pages for 2014: 4946


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