Here was my experience of The Interestings.
1. I google "best books of 2013"
2. I click the Barnes and Noble link, and then click on something called "The Interestings"
3. I read "She's every bit as literary as Franzen or Eugenides" - ooh! that's me completely sold!
4. Initial excitement wanes quickly. I'm thinking "This is as literary as Bridget Jones' Diary" and then I just get more and more annoyed with the book and the characters. It reads more to me like an average Young Adult novel featuring teenagers who are smug enough and annoying enough to call themselves "The Interestings" (even if tongue-in-cheek).
5. Maybe a third of the way and finally start to get over the fact that Meg Wolitzer is not in the same league as Franzen or Euginedes by a long shot. I try not to let expectation be the sole destroyer of this book. I try to appreciate it on it's own terms but I'm still annoyed with a few things. Even if the way-overhyped quotes in best-of-the-year lists don't ruin it by high expectation alone, the title doesn't do it any favours either. They're not that interesting! And someone needs to tell Wolitzer about "show don't tell". She keeps *telling* us how funny Jules is yet she never made me laugh once.
I think the cruel truth here is that Wolitzer is a lot less interesting and funny than she thinks she is, which is just another bullet this book shoots itself in the foot with.
Despite all of the above, I didn't hate it - I enjoyed a lot of it but if it had a different title, and I stumbled across it in less magnanimous context, I might have enjoyed it a hell of a lot more.
It took me a little while to get into the story, but once I did it was totally engrossing. If you were to describe the plot of The Interstings to someone it wouldn't sound like that good of a book, but once you get past the first few chapters you find yourself feeling really invested in the lives of each character who each had their own distinct voice and personality.
I love this book, it was really well written and the voice actor was really talented.
Made it a little less contrived, shorter, less whiny. Made Jules more appealing even in her non-splashiness. Made Ethan / Jules attraction more believable, have more realness. Less telling more showing overall.
The narrator is versatile and was consistent in creating and differentiating characters. However, I would have heard them differently in my head. Too often, rather than getting into the character, I kept thinking-- oh, this is how the narrator thinks a teenager sounds.. or an adult ultrasound technician, or ..etc. And I generally disagreed. But hey, I couldn't do what she does.
oh, there were too many. But almost all were all needed to make the milky plot go on. It just went on an on -- and everything so contrived.
After a while it felt like walking in a minefield of details. Each one meant to set off later in the book. And, every single one of them did. A 1-line review of the interestings: a lifetime of artsy--not artful--whining to realize that it's all OK after all, even when it's not.
Yes, if you enjoy a well-written character study.
I'm honestly not a huge fan of character studies, but Meg Wolitzer is such a fantastic writer that the characters really came alive for me. I enjoyed the wry humor as well.
Yes, although as many other reviewers mentioned, she spoke too fast and was a tad inconsistent during the first half of the book. She seemed to settle in to the characters by the second half. I loved her Ethan and Dennis voices.
I read and listen to books. I drink tea. I sleep like a cat and wished I lived in Hawaii.
This book follows 6 people that live in NYC (but only 4 intensively) that met at a summer camp for the arts in the 70’s when they are teenagers. They become best friends and stay connected throughout the next 40 or so years. The book is mostly told thru Jules Jacobson’s eyes, the most normal one of the bunch. Jules and her friends are all interested in becoming artists of one form or another, but only one of them actually becomes famous for his talents. They all differ in their levels of talent and creativity and we see how this affects each of them. There is not a ton of plot in this book unless you count normal life as a plot. People get married, have babies, become famous, don’t become famous, experience death of loved ones, and a whole slew of other life experiences. I guess the getting famous part or knowing anyone famous isn’t really part of any normal life, but the rest of the book is about “normal” life occurrences. There is a bit of heavier drama that happens between 2 of the friends early on in the book, but it isn’t really the main focus of the story. I found all of this to be interesting, even though I think “The Interestings” is a bit of a misleading title for the book. The friends decide to call themselves this while attending Spirit-In-The-Woods, the summer camp. These people are semi-normal with flawed personalities and I think that’s what makes them interesting to me. These friends differ widely in money, class and fame, especially in relation to Jules. She is not as talented or rich or as beautiful as the others and sometimes this matters and sometimes it doesn’t. As in real life, secrets exist and the reader is left to ponder the morals/ethics behind them. Wolitzer created interesting (no pun intended) enough characters that I ultimately cared what happened to them even if there wasn’t terribly engaging plot twists along the way. I thought there was a bit a of hole in the book when Jules’ and Ash’s children are growing up… somewhere in the early teenage years. I felt that the rest of their lives was explained more thoroughly, but that was only a minor bump I found in the road of “The Interestings.” Wolitzer provides a lot of flashbacks from the past as she moves forward through the story and it can be confusing at times to keep up with the timeline, but after a while I got used to this writing style. Also, she is pretty amazing when it comes to imagery.
The Interestings is a wonderful book. I fell in love with the characters and miss them terribly now that I have finished the story. I found myself constantly checking my chapter number, fearful of how close to the end I was getting. You meet a set of 5 teenagers the day they all meet at a summer camp and follow their lives all the way into adulthood. They are good but flawed people - just like most people in the real world.
My only complaint is the narrator. I have listened to hundreds of audio books, and this is the first one for which I had to slow down the narration speed in order to keep up. Even at a slower speed, the voices aren't distorted and I wasn't at all distracted by the pace. Do buy this book. It's absolutely enchanting.
This book started off a bit annoying & not very interesting. However, the character development is great. I really enjoyed the complex relationships built, and the way it circled back. Towards the end, you really knew the dynamics & personalities - and I was bummed it was over. I also enjoyed the reader - she did a great job.
Persnickety, curmudgeonly, locked into a long daily commute which is mitigated somewhat by listening to great books.
Wolitzer's ability to get inside the heads of the characters without sounding clinical
No -first time
Bildungsroman, relatable, nostalgia
I liked so many things about this story. But mostly I loved the way that the group was followed from idealistic teenage-dom into the first challenges of adulthood into meandering middle age. It was so relatable. We all think we're fantastically interesting until life kicks us around for a while and we realize we are just people who need each other.
Ethan and Julz were by far my favorite. I loved their deep connection that went into a territory beyond romance. They were people who experienced life, but questioned it too.
I thought the narrator did an excellent job! The voices of each of the characters was so distinct and wonderful. i'm sure a movie will be made of this book, but I kind of hate to erase the characters created by the writer and narrator in tandem.
I am a miracle worker. Doing what I can to choose love over fear.
The way characters and different era's take you on a journey like few other novels match. The Personalitiea are Amazingly Heartwarming
Ethan: Won't spoil the story , when you listen you will see why.
Ethan and Jools at the office.
Life: Things change but remains the same.