The Interestings is a really good book. A really good book in the way that you look forward to having a free moment to read. A really good book in the way that you sneak off to bed at 9:30 to be able to fit in a little bit more reading.
The Interestings is not a really good book in the way of drawing attention to what a good book it is. There are no literary gimmicks. The prose isn’t overwritten. There is gratuitous effort to be clever or award winning.
It’s just a good book. And that’s enough.
The story starts in the 1970s in a summer camp for artsy kids in the woods of Western Massachusetts. A group of teenagers who dub themselves The Interestings, as if that, in itself, will make them interesting. They grow up and circumstances start pulling them apart. First one. Then another. And then, as they reach adulthood, things like class difference and envy start to pull the core group apart. Lives turn out differently than they expected.
At the center of all of this is Jules, a middle class girl with more creative inclination than actual talent. You see time pass through her eyes, as her spurned love interest, Ethan, becomes ‘that guy’ in the group. The one who really made it. Her best friend Ash becomes the wife of Ethan and life continues through the world dramas of the 80s, 90s & 00s.
In some ways this is just another story about a privileged group of friends in New York City trying to find their way in life. However, it was well written and enjoyable. I can see why someone might find Jules annoying, with her ongoing need to be rescued from her life by Ethan, but I liked her.
I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes the ‘literary fiction’ genre and enjoys ensemble dramas. The interconnected lives of people and the dramas they bring to the party. I’m not sure the book will dazzle you, but it will be enjoyable.