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The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
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The Interestings

by Meg Wolitzer

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,2041694,366 (3.61)126
  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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» See also 126 mentions

English (172)  French (2)  Piratical (1)  All languages (175)
Showing 1-5 of 172 (next | show all)
This is my review. Where does it show up? ( )
  Julie.Patton | May 7, 2019 |
I wrote a review earlier, but I wrote it as an update and exceeded 100 characters, so it got lost in the ether.

This is the most slice-of-lifey book I've read in a long while. And when I read something with this level of realism, I find myself wondering a lot about the author's intent. Because it's certainly engrossing reading it as someone's life story, but I have to keep reminding myself it's a work of fiction. So why did the author make the choices she did, in the plot and setting? Why are the characters the way they are? How much of it is autobiographical? I can certainly see some of what she is trying to say about youth and adulthood, and about the class divide. But a lot of the story runs on its own internal logic, and it's hard to see outside of it at times. ( )
  xiaomarlo | Apr 17, 2019 |
A story about friends who meet as teens at a summer camp for the arts in the Berkshires. The story follows the fortunes of the characters from their first meeting through their fifties. I enjoyed following their stories, even if at times I was dismayed by them. ( )
  fromthecomfychair | Apr 17, 2019 |
Nice look at lifelong friendships. Sometimes the jumping back & forth in time bugged me, but it's good. It's nice to read about people who really love each other, including married couples, instead of everyone loathing one another like in so many books & movies nowadays. You know, the "quiet desperation." None here. ( )
  robeena | Mar 17, 2019 |
I get that the Great American Novel will probably feature middle class white people with decidedly First World problems, but when I'm more focused on the blandness of the characters than the quality of the work it's hard to consider this book a candidate for the title.

This is sub-Franzen family fluff. The (sorta-)joke at the beginning is that this group of middle-class white people adopt the title "The interestings" themselves like Michael Scott buying himself the World's Best Boss mug. The joke is on them, though, as none of them become significantly more interesting during the course of their unfulfilling lives.

Nicely written, but to no real purpose. It's just a novel and not a terribly interesting one. ( )
  asxz | Mar 13, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 172 (next | show all)
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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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.
Last words
(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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