The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
(Riverhead, 2013, 480 pages)
In The Interestings we are introduced to a group of 6 individuals who met at a summer camp called Spirit-in-the-Woods back in the 70s. This is a camp where artistic talents are nurtured and you don’t have to do any of the things you don’t want to do – you just give in to your creativity. The 6 friends end up calling themselves “The Interestings” and the group is comprised of Jules, Ethan, Ash, Goodwin, Jonah, and Cathy. The novel follows them as they grow up and take very different paths in life – most of them veering away from the artistic talents they’d nurtured in summer camp. The central focus of the story revolves around Ash and Ethan and Jules and her husband Dennis. Ash and Ethan seem to be living the good life, things just come easily to them, especially money. Jules and Dennis do okay for themselves, but Jules can’t keep herself from envying Ash and Ethan and the life she feels she could/should have had.
We see how each of the Interestings changes over time as they leave their teenage years behind and grow into adults. There’s a lot of depth in this novel and Wolitzer’s character development was great. None of the characters in the novel are without flaw and you find yourself caring for all of them. Definitely a good read – it was listed on a number of “Best of 2013” lists.