Ultimately, this audiobook lands at the bottom of my total library audiobooks in terms of overall enjoyment. Although it started out sounding like it would be an interesting story by about halfway through it started to feel like it was too long and I found myself wishing it would end.. The narration became tiresome, despite the speed of the narrator's reading. She read it so fast that it took a few minutes for me to adjust to it but within a short while I no longer had any problem following the story,
The protagonist who is the main focus was an interesting enough character but rather predictable. Initially it was easy to relate to much of the friends and their subsequent lives from the summer they all met. As a teenager from the metropolitan New York City area myself, there were many references made that brought back memories from my own life.But after a while, there was simply too much predictable elements to the story and it became boring.
The narrator sounded very rushed as if she could not read the words fast enough. But I quickly got accustomed to the fast pace although it was initially irritating. The irony is that by about halfway through the audiobook, I was wishing it would go faster! The narrator was still reading at the same speed, but the story was making it seem drawn out.
Perhaps the problem for me with this particular book is me and my personal opinion of this novel. Most people seem to have really enjoyed it but I just could not keep interested in the story or the development of the individual characters. I got impatient with it and simply lost interest. I do not want to give others who may read this review the idea that this was all that bad an audiobook. But frankly, the vast majority of the many audiobooks I have listened to in the last few months were on average, very enjoyable and quite a few have been outstanding. As my mother used to say "There's no accounting for taste". This book was not to my liking: "one man's meat is another man's poison" EB White said, I believe. It just was not for me.
English major. Love to read
I went to camp,made good friends and grew up on the east coast so this book was an okay read. The characters were well drawn but almost too pat and the story sagged in the middle which I believe is one of the possible shortcomings for a story that takes place over so many years. I enjoyed it and didn't stop reading it, but I wouldn't highly recommend it.
After her father dies of pancreatic cancer, Julie Jacobsen's Long Island mother sends her––on scholarship––to Spirit In the Woods, a summer camp mostly populated by the artsy teen spawn of privileged Manhattanites. Julie is surprised to be adopted into a circle of kids above her sophistication level, appreciated for her acerbic wit and christened "Jules" by them.
In the self-styled "Interestings" group are sister and brother Ash and Goodman Wolf; son of a Joan Baez-ish folkie, Jonah Bay; and fellow scholarship camper and aspiring cartoonist, Ethan Figman. Ash, warm-hearted, beautiful and earnestly feminist, will become Jules's best friend. Ethan is awkward and goofy, but warmhearted and hugely talented.
All of the Interestings have ambitions; Jules expresses it as wanting to have a "big life." We follow the group from their teenage days, during the Watergate era, through to their middle age, and see what happens as they grow into their adult lives, some of which are far bigger than others––at least if you're measuring by name recognition and money. As the old saying goes, though, life is what happens while you're making other plans, and we see that play out in this story.
Anchored in its time and place, the tale spans the bad old days when Manhattan was filthy and crime-ridden, the beginning of the AIDS era, the Moonies, foodies, the rise (and fall) of the yuppie and the investment banker and 9/11. All the personal landmarks are the real story, though: career achievements and disappointments, marriage, children, friendship, loss, illness, death. Biggest of all, the slow growth of the idea that happiness, or at least satisfaction, can be found in a life that isn't so big or interesting.
Audio: Jen Tullock was not a good narrator. Her voice was nasal and she often delivered character voices were in an inappropriately whiny and singsong-y style. It was grating and detracted a lot from my enjoyment of the story. During the middle of the book, there was a long period when it sounded like she had a lozenge or gum in her mouth.
Yes, I would recommend this book. Although the main character, Jules Jacobson, is not always likeable (in her older years she can be downright whiny), I enjoyed the different characters and we learned how they grew up and what they became over the course of 40 years. Some very funny moments, as well as some very sad ones, I enjoyed how this book described life in general.
My favourite character was Ethan Figman, who was incredibly likeable and grew up to be incredibly rich and a celebrity in his own right, but this didn't affect him in terms of who he was as a person. Like all of Meg Wolitzer's characters, he wasn't just black and white though.
I haven't listened to any of her other performances, however I really enjoyed this one. I thought that she did a great job depicting the different vocals of each character and I could really picture them in my mind.
Jules Jacobson was kind of the "main" character, and so I would say she was the most memorable. Although not always likeable, and certainly not flawless, she had some good insights into her own life and the life of her close friends.
I would recommend this book to any baby boomer who loved summer camp for sure, for sure for sure. This book took me back in time to the wonderful summers I spent learning about life and people.
I could compare it to Gone Girl because I absolutely did not want either of these books to end. Now I'll have to settle for a while because I know how hard it is to find just right books like these.
Jules and Ethan. Their story touched me and made my heart ache. I found the description of their lives (minus the star status and fame) to be actually quite realistic.
She did a great job making each character distinct and an individual.
Loved it. I listened to the entire book in two days.
I retitled this book "The Insufferables" because I just found the characters cloying. The fact that they name themselves The Interestings really shows their level of self absorption. The storyline was ok, but I'm not recommending it to my friends.
First, let me say that I was so hesitant to "read" another audiobook after listening to a narration of "Wool" by Hugh Howey that was so painful, I had to finish the book in text.
I am SO HAPPY with Jen Tullock's narration of "The Interestings" that, frankly, it could have been a much lesser novel and I would have torn through it just as quickly.
I am a native Manhattanite, temporary Southerner, and, honestly, I seek out epic novels that have New York City as their backdrop. This novel positively SLAYED me. The monotony, mundanity, anonymity, of our lives and the steps we take to give these lives meaning - THAT is what this book is about.
Did you love St. Elmo's Fire? If so, you will love this book.
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenedies; Beloved by Zadie Smith; Let the Great World Spin by ColomnMcCann.
Oh there were SO MANY. Jonah. Moonies. "Ethan; you LOVE her..."
I would LOVE to see this novel as a film. And I hate novels as films. What would the tag line be...?
"Boy wanders; girl waits"?
"Makeouts, Moonies, Money and More!"
I was excited to answer this question but I just can't reduce this novel to a tag line!
Narration was STELLAR. Tullock, through infliction and pitch, is masterful with her characters. You come to know EXACTLY who she is voicing without any cues, simply by ear. She doesn't explicitly change her tone ro pitch, but a slight graveling lets you know that Ethan is "speaking" well before Ethan is credited with the speech.
This book was amazing. I'm looking forward to more from Jen Tullock AND Meg Wolitzer.
Spans the lives of privileged and not-so-privileged NYC kids who become NYC adults and have lives that intertwine and things happen that are both good and bad and people have regrets and do some awful things to one another but we love them anyway. Just like life!
I'm not sure since I only listened to the audio, but I do think it added something.
She's good at doing different voices--male/female/accented.
Funny, grand in scope, emotionally intimate--a really fantastic novel.