Book Review -- The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
The Interestings was... kind of interesting.
The story begins in in 1974, when Jules Jacobsen finds herself at summer camp, awkward, insecure and desperate to belong (much like most teenages). She unexpectedly finds herself alongside a cast of characters that become her lifelong pals. There's Ethan, the brilliant yet unattractive pal who is madly in love with Jules from day one; Ash and Goodman, the beautiful, wealthy brother-sister duo who exude confidence and sophistication; Cathy, the robust (physically and emotionally) dancer; and Jonah, the mild-tempered musician with a famous mother. We follow Jules, and her relationships with each of these individuals, over the course of one lifetime. Certain plot twists offer dramatic commentary about how one event or choice can shape someone's personality or fate, how one person's life journey intersects with another's, as well as the reality that the people you know best often surprise you.
I really wanted to like this book, but 100 pages in, I felt the urge to stop reading. (And my personal philosophy is that if I don't like a book after 50-100 pages in, I stop. Life is too short, and there are too many books available, to read things that don't resonate with you!) I kept going, because there's no doubt that The Interestings is extremely well-written, and I commend any author that follows one or more characters throughout the span of a lifetime. Plus the novel has gotten a ton of good press and great reviews. But for me, I realized I didn't care what Jules thought or did. I thought she was kind of annoying and dull, and fit the mold of a person who thinks high school is the climax of all life and happiness (... maybe that was the criticism and Wolitzer's point). I also didn't really care what happened to anyone else in her clan. This is sort of odd, because again, these characters are well-developed and seemingly relatable.
As much as I tried, I couldn't get "into" the story like I anticipated I would, so I think it is just one of those books that may or may not strike a chord with you. If it does, you'll probably enjoy it, and if not, don't be afraid to put down the book and turn to something else. If you did read it and love it, tell me why! I would love to hear.