The Interestings, a story of six friends who meet at summer camp and become lifelong friends, does indeed live up to its name; though the narration spans nearly half a century and the novel clocks in at almost 500 pages, Wolitzer’s non-chronological storytelling kept me engaged and always wondering what would happen next. The story begins at Spirit-in-the-Woods, a summer camp for the arts where six talented young people form a bond that, for some of them, last their entire lives. The novel focuses on Jules Jacobsen, an ordinary girl who feels more at home at camp than anywhere else; Ash Wolf, a beautiful young girl from a privileged family; her brother Goodman Wolf, a troublemaker much less motivated than his sister; Jonah Bay, son of folk music sensation Susannah Bay; Ethan Figman, a boy from a troubled home with a talent for animation; and Cathy Kiplinger, an aspiring dancer. As the characters grow, some of them find that their early artistic talents serve them well throughout their lives, while some learn that the world of fine arts is not where they belong. After camp ends for all the characters, they all find in some way that when reality sets in, life is no longer the utopia it was at Spirit-in-the-Woods.
Though The Interestings is indeed a lengthy read, I never felt that the novel dragged on unnecessarily; Meg Wolitzer clearly has a talent for moving the plot along and keeping readers captivated. In the beginning, due to the non-chronological telling of the story, it took a while for the various anecdotes to find their path; however, Wolitzer’s clever foreshadowing proved to be a way to show where the novel was going to lead, though not revealing too much about the characters’ journey from adolescence to adulthood. I would recommend this story to anyone who enjoys a coming-of-age story or a novel about relationships between unique characters.
Availability: St. Mary’s Library, USMAI and COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Brianna Glase
Rating: Highly Recommended