Saturday, February 22, 2014

Book 4 - The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

This is Meg Wolitzer's ninth novel. I haven;t read any of her previous novels,but I can say that I will go back and look for them now. The story begins at an arts camp in upstate NY in the mid seventies. Six of the teenage campers are drawn to each other because they all consider themselves to be "interesting." Jules is the character that is the protagonist - the story seems to be told mostly from her perspective anyways - and she's seemingly the odd one out, not having come from an artsy background. Her best friend is Ash, her crush is Ash's brother Goodman and Ethan and Jonah are there for the ride. Cathy is Goodman's love interest. Ethan is the one that has the most breakout success as an animator in his adult life. As the group matures into adulthood, they, with the exception of Ethan, are forced to adjust their expectations of what their life was going to be to what their life actually has become.

Woliter's prose is warm and astute - there seems to be nothing that she misses when she expertly dissects sexuality, expectations and many other aspects of the lives of this group. While self-reinvention is nothing new in American literature - it seems to come with the turf considering how our country came to be - Wolitzer brings a fresh perspective and a new way of examining it in this novel. The characters are allowed and even encouraged to see happiness not necessarily as getting everything that they want but as being happy with what they actually have. This definition of success and happiness doesn't necessarily require overachievement. I loved this novel.

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