Becoming important – “The Interestings” by Meg Wolitzer

June 4, 2013 at 9:17 pm 4 comments

“The Interestings” by Meg Wolitzer, Published in 2013

Yes this book is as good as you have heard. Wolitzer can write in what seems to be an effortless way but you know, as a discerning reader, that this book was a labor of love.

In 1974, Julie is a misfit, fizzy-haired teenage whose father has just died suddenly and is sent to an art camp for the summer.  Somehow, miraculously, from her perspective, she finds herself hanging out with the cool clique.  They call themselves the “interestings,” maybe sarcastically but somewhat prophetically. There is the beautiful, wealthy brother and sister Ash and Goodwin. Jonah who is also beautiful but even more importantly is the son of a famous folk singer.  Cathy who is a largely endowed dancer with amazing sex appeal. And Ethan who is a dork but loved by everyone, and of course is a brilliant cartoonist. Sitting in a camp tepee with this group Julie suddenly feThe Interestingsels, for perhaps the first time in her life, that she belongs.  And of course they call her Jules, which is what her name should have been all along, obviously.

Wolitzer then follows these characters through-out their lives together as friends.  Some of them succeed, some of them fall apart. In many ways the group is so self-involved that they seem unable to consider what is right or wrong.  It becomes a question of loyalty to the group vs. siding with the outside world. Not surprisingly this causes poor decisions on everyone’s part.   I hate to go into too much detail because this book unfolds as you read it and I think that is an important part of the experience.

My struggles with these book were minimal but I will share them anyway.  This book is character-driven, it is not plot driven. Wherever the characters’ lives go the reader follows.  At times, this made me feel like nothing was happening.  I also struggled a bit with the character of Jules. She was kind of bland, which is a part of her role in the book, but it also made her at times not extremely engaging.  But it is clear from the story this is Wolitzer’s purpose for Jules.  As a reader I often struggle when the main character is not engaging (in a good or bad way).

Regardless of any issues, the story is great.  Wolitzer is able to capture the amazing time that almost every teenager has experienced at camp or playing on a sports team or in school (if you are lucky).   That moment when, no matter how nerdy, ugly, awkward, lonely you are, you find a place where you just fit.   You finally feel like you matter, like you are important.   And if you are lucky whatever that experience was you will have those friends for as long as you need them.

 

Other reviews to check out: 

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Entry filed under: June 2013 reads. Tags: , , .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Eeshan  |  June 7, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    I’ll be sure to read this. Everybody yearns for a place to fit and a story about something like this might just invoke some deep thoughts. Nice post. 🙂

    Reply
    • 2. Emily C  |  June 7, 2013 at 2:11 pm

      Thank you so much. And thanks for reading my blog.

      Reply
      • 3. Eeshan  |  June 7, 2013 at 2:56 pm

        You’re most welcome!

  • […] Becoming important – “The Interestings” by Meg Wolitzer […]

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There is some great literature out there, but there is a lot of bad literature as well. We shouldn't all have to read it. These are my recommendations and thoughts about the books I read.

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