Tuesday, October 8, 2013
The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer
In addition to Ethan, a brilliant but goofy-looking teenage cartoonist who will later create a famous TV show, the Interestings are comprised of gifted guitarist Jonah; the wealthy and beautiful siblings Ash and Goodman; dancer Cathy, as talented as she is voluptuous; and frizzy-haired Julie. Julie, from a middle-class background, begins the book as an outsider, but when invited to join the Interestings clique while at an upstate New York arts camp in the summer of 1974, she is reborn and rechristened as the more adventurous Jules. “She was Jules now, and would be Jules forever,” she determines.
Jules has her shot at Ethan, but she turns him down because she pines for another member of their group; besides, Ethan is no looker. So it comes as a surprise to her, and to the reader, when he wins the heart of the lovely Ash. The two of them go on to enjoy a wildly successful artistic life together, although they keep a few key things secret from one another. The author writes beautifully about how the extraordinary success of some and the corresponding jealousy of others can alter friendships. She also writes about how it feels to have once been interesting, if only in your own mind, and to not be interesting anymore. And she questions if being interesting is the most important thing you can be.
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