The Interestings

Wolitzer, Meg

Book - 2013
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Interestings
Named a best book of the year by Entertainment Weekly , Time , and The Chicago Tribune , and named a notable book by The New York Times Book Review and The Washington Post "Remarkable . . . With this book [Wolitzer] has surpassed herself."-- The New York Times Book Review "A victory . . . The Interestings secures Wolitzer's place among the best novelists of her generation. . . . She's every bit as literary as Franzen or Eugenides. But the very human moments in her work hit you harder than the big ideas. This isn't women's fiction. It's everyone's."-- Entertainment Weekly (A) From New York Times -bestselling author Meg Wolitzer comes a new novel that has been called "genius" ( The Chicago Tribune ), "wonderful" ( Vanity Fair ), "ambitious" ( San Francisco Chronicle ), and a "page-turner" ( Cosmopolitan ), which The New York Times Book Review says is "among the ranks of books like Jonathan Franzen's Freedom and Jeffrey Eugenides The Marriage Plot ." 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.

Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, c2013.
ISBN: 1594488398
Characteristics: 468 pages ;,24 cm


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Feb 21, 2015
  • Persnickety77 rated this: 1.5 stars out of 5.

The more i reflect back on this book, the less i like it. i'm not sure why it bugged me so much, but it really did. the characters were lame, the plot was boring, the writing was uninspired. I don't know why it got such good reivews

Dec 21, 2014
  • CPL_Laura rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Wolitzer beautifully captures the personalities of several ambitious, artsy teens and the often wistful, sometimes disappointed adults they become. I absolutely adored this book, which would likely appeal to fans of Gail Godwin, Anne Tyler, and Adam Langer.

Nov 19, 2014
  • Chapel_Hill_ShannonB rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

It reminded me a bit of "Last of the Savages" by Jay McInerney and a little of Jeffery Eugenides' last book, "The Marriage Plot." I would recommend it to fans of either book and readers that enjoy complicated characters that may not always be likable, but are relatable and realistic.

Nov 04, 2014
  • BarbyReads rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Good read but a little predictable.

Jul 30, 2014
  • peachy1 rated this: 1.5 stars out of 5.

The Interestings aren't.

Jun 29, 2014
  • SLoMotion rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I listened to the audiobook while on vacation last year, and I remember being so engrossed in the characters and feeling haunted when it was over. As I enter my 30's, my own life, past friends, and events play before me in a parallel fashion to the protaganist and her life in the novel. We all start out so young and sure of ourselves, this golden path laid out for us to follow. But life's twists and turns bring unexpected disappointment and beauty.

I would definitely recommend this book. In fact, I should read it again, too.

Apr 19, 2014
  • kninchicago rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I couldn't put this book down, but I do have mixed feelings on it. It's about six teens who meet at an arts summer camp in the 70s. It follows the lives of four of the youth up through their 50s (aka through present time) with the occasional mention/appearance of the other two. Something happens between two of the teens which has implications on them for decades to come. To be honest I feel like it didn't need to happen. In another plot, one the other teens ends up being wildly successful (creates a show that sounds an awful lot like The Simpsons) and the concept of evaluating your choices in life, as you get older, and wondering if you did the right thing or if you were ever truly meant to be anything but ordinary could have been expanded rather than the confrontation which splits the group. The confrontation is never comfortably resolved, though, I suppose that's rather realistic in many cases, but it makes me have less respect for our protagonist.

Mar 30, 2014
  • KateHillier rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Julie Jacobson goes to an arts camp when she's fifteen in the summer of 1974. She becomes Jules Jacobson and gains a new group of friends. They jokingly refer to themselves as "The Interestings." This books covers the stories of their lives and friendship from their teenage years to their middle age. The plot wanders a bit at points, admittedly to a point where I'd get a little frustrated, but it always pulls you back as you see something that you know too well from your own group of friends or just from yourself.

There are big events, there are little events, there are falling outs, there are major and minor tragedies and achievements. You hate and like everyone at different points for different reasons and a big focus of the novel is of Jules' envy that two of her friends made it in their chosen art while everyone else couldn't for various reasons.

I had my moments with this book but I came out really enjoying it and, surprisingly, wishing to know what awaits the group in their later years. If you're looking to get comfortable with a group of friends and watch their lives unfold, and are ready for a long haul, this is the book for you.

Mar 02, 2014
  • TracyGuza rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This novel which tracks the activities of teenagers at camp in the 1970's through the present deals brilliantly with divisions between the super rich and entitled and the regular middle class. Set in upstate New York and Manhattan, the book seamlessly switches between past and present, intertwining characters stories. The Interestings was interesting indeed. I felt affinity for all the characters and situations. And, as a fan of New York at any point in time, the city provides a fantastic backdrop for the drama.

Feb 16, 2014
  • bigoz123 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Entertaining Book.

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Oct 11, 2014

As a teenager, Julie (Jules) Jacobson has a life-changing summer at the Spirit-in-the-Woods camp. There she meets an incredibly talented young animator, Ethan Figman, and a girl named Ash who will become her best friend. While she keeps up with her camp friends throughout her life, her relationship with them changes. Envy of their success and wealth is a burden to her and prevents her from being happy and enjoying her many blessings including a loving husband and healthy daughter. Life doesn't always go the way you want it to, but it's still interesting!


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