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The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
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The Interestings

by Meg Wolitzer

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,0991574,473 (3.6)119
  1. 41
    Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (hairball)
    hairball: Similar tone.
  2. 20
    A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (vwinsloe)
    vwinsloe: Another group of lifelong friends followed over the decades.
  3. 21
    The Big Chill [1983 film] by Lawrence Kasdan (tangledthread)
    tangledthread: A very similar theme and story line for the generation immediately preceding The Interestings.
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Showing 1-5 of 161 (next | show all)
I wish the author has spent more time with the characters at camp. I did not really like the characters, did not feel the strong ties that would have kept them all together. For me the portion of the book that took place during summer camp was the strongest and rang the truest, but sadly it was the shortest. After that I was just reading to finish the book. ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
Thoughtful adult fiction - examining the interconnected relationships between a group of friends who meet every year at summer youth camp for the arts. Definitely East coast kind of landscape with much of their adult lives taking place in NY City. ( )
  BDartnall | Jul 12, 2018 |
I heard Meg Wolitzer interviewed by Pamela Paul in relation to this book on the NY Times Book Review podcast. At first I thought this might be a good book for me, but then as the interview progressed I decided not to put it on my wish list after all. A couple of months later I was looking in my local library for Wolitzer's "The Wife" and I saw this book. I couldn't remember why I had decided against it, so I borrowed it! Well, I'm still not really certain how I feel about it. It did have some elements that really drew me in. I related very much to the era and some of the issues, but there were plenty of times when it seemed that Wolitzer was going through a list of issues to include. A number of these didn't seem to be dealt with at appropriate depth and seemed instead to be token elements of the story. The tension between the wealthy and the not-so-rich friends was particularly well developed, I thought.I also loved a lot of both the inner and voiced dialog of relationships. But the Moonies incident seemed bizarre and superficial. I was a little disappointed, but I haven't given up on Meg Wolitzer by any means. I'm still looking for "The Wife". ( )
  oldblack | Jun 22, 2018 |
At first I found myself really into this story and then Julie (refuse to call her Jules) started to grate on me. As years went on and the characters aged I got more and more aggravated with how stuck at camp she was and how immature she was. I think this story was supposed to make the reader feel this way. When Dennis lets into Julie for declining the 5 year camp job I was so happy to see that someone finally called her on her shit. I mean, Goodman did a couple of times and he certainly liked to mess with her but this chick needed a reality check. The ending was sad, and not expected and I'm not sure yet if i liked it. This was a long listen too, I wonder how it would have felt if I was reading it. ( )
  JamieBH | Apr 3, 2018 |
The book made we think about some interesting aspects of life -- how you bond as adolescents, what you share with a partner or not, etc. but in the end, the message that everyone carries baggage and that money does make things easier were just not that compelling. I tend to like books that have intersecting stores and points of view, but the interestings just wasn't that interesting. ( )
  jmellman | Mar 28, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 161 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
While riding on a train goin' west
I fell asleep for to take my rest
I dreamed a dream that made me sad
Concerning myself and the first few friends I had
~Bob Dylan, "Bob Dylan's Dream"

... to own a little talent ... was an awful, plaguing thing ... being only a little special meant you expected too much, most of the time.
~Mary Robison, "Yours"
Dedication
For my parents, who sent me there
And for Martha Parker, whom I met there
First words
On a warm night in early July of that long-evaporated year, the Interestings gathered for the very first time.  They were only fifteen, sixteen, and they began to call themselves the name with tentative irony.
Quotations
Irony was new to her and tasted oddly good, like previously unavailable summer fruit.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Book 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.
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Forging a powerful bond in the mid-1970s that lasts throughout subsequent decades, six individuals pursue challenges into their midlife years, including an aspiring actress who harbors jealousy toward friends who achieve successful creative careers.

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