Friday, April 25, 2014

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

4 Stars
In the summer of 1974 six teens meet at an artists’ summer camp.

Ash, the beautiful one who dreams of a life filled with fame both on and off the stage;

Goodman, her brooding brother who wants to be an architect, but more importantly wants his father’s approval;

Ethan, the homely cartoonist;

Jonah, a gifted musician whose past has caused him to lose his love for music;

Cathy, the girl who only wants to dance, but has been cursed with a curvy body;

and finally Julie – the aspiring comedic actress who will emerge from the summer like a butterfly from a cocoon as “Jules”.

The Interestings follows this group of friends from their formative teen years all the way through middle-age – through marriage and babies and career changes – various successes and failures – seeing some of their dreams come true and some of their dreams shrivel and die – revealing secrets hidden for decades.

Okay, there’s my “official” synopsis. Now it’s time to get real. This book is really about NOTHING. Yes, there is a touch of scandal and secrets that can’t be let go, but really those end up being just a handful of the pages of this novel. The Interestings has no big mystery to solve, no unrequited love, not even any particular character to route for. It is simply about life and how these six people live it. I should have hated it . . . but I didn’t.

I love an ensemble cast and for whatever reason this one reminded me a teensie bit of a really good one:

Once I started reading, I didn’t want to stop. Meg Wolitzer wrote believable characters and scenes. I became invested in these people’s lives and she made it clear that it was okay to not always route for them. For me, though, the defining factor that bumped this up the rating scale was that I had a clear visual of each person through the entire book. If I can’t picture the characters, I can’t connect. And if an author has me envisioning the celebrity I most want to punch in the throat as the male lead and still somehow manages to make me love him? Well, she deserves nothing less than 4-Stars. I mean really – who in their right mind wants to picture THIS guy for 500 pages????


  1. OMG! I also imagined Ethan Figman as Seth Rogen!
    But unlike you, I actually LIKE Seth Rogen, so it was kinda pleasurable to me...
    Still, that doesn't mean I wouldn't wax his back if I had the chance.

  2. My hatred for Rogen is totally not justified - but I can't help it. I seriously want to punch him in the face whenever he comes on the screen : (