Publisher: Riverhead ISBN 9781594488399
Hardcover, $27.95, 480 pages (Ebook available)
Genre: Literary Fiction
The Story: Jules Jacobson is a fifteen-year-old who just lost her father. Her mother sends Jules to a performing arts camp, hoping to get her away from the sadness. There Jules meets and falls in with a group of wealthy, artistic teens- siblings handsome Goodman and beautiful Ash, sad, introverted guitar player Josh, dancer Cathy and witty, geeky Ethan. They become a tight knit group and their lives become entwined until an incident occurs that threatens to tear them all apart and forces them to take sides. Ethan and Ash end up together and Ethan becomes wealthy and famous, while Jules struggles financially and artistically.
The Short & Sweet Review: As someone who came of age at the same time as Jules in the 1970s, I felt very connected to these characters. Wolitzer perfectly captures how it feels to be the outsider in a group, as well as the longing for success and what happens when the reality of your life doesn't meet the fantasy you have created. Wolitzer confronts what happens to young people when people expect too much- or not enough- from them. We all have roles that we end up playing, but what happens when they don't match up to who we really are inside?
The books covers much of the characters' adult lives, so we see them fall in love, start families, have career successes and failures. There is so much here, and Wolitzer's characters feel like people we could know in our own lives. The writing is so gorgeous, and the setting of New York City is the perfect place for this group of golden ones to explore life as young adults. My favorite character is Dennis, the only one who seems to be truly authentic and honest about himself.
The Interestings has been placed on many Best of 2013 lists, including Amazon's best literature and fiction, and is sure to be on many more before the end of the year.
5 of 5 stars
Meg Wolitzer's website is here.