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The Interestings | [Meg Wolitzer]

The Interestings

The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed. In The Interestings, Wolitzer follows these characters from the height of youth through middle age, as their talents, fortunes, and degrees of satisfaction diverge. The kind of creativity that is rewarded at age 15 is not always enough to propel someone through life at age 30; not everyone can sustain, in adulthood, what seemed so special in adolescence.
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Publisher's Summary

From best-selling author Meg Wolitzer a dazzling, panoramic novel about what becomes of early talent, and the roles that art, money, and even envy can play in close friendships.

The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed. In The Interestings, Wolitzer follows these characters from the height of youth through middle age, as their talents, fortunes, and degrees of satisfaction diverge.

The kind of creativity that is rewarded at age 15 is not always enough to propel someone through life at age 30; not everyone can sustain, in adulthood, what seemed so special in adolescence. Jules Jacobson, an aspiring comic actress, eventually resigns herself to a more practical occupation and lifestyle. Her friend Jonah, a gifted musician, stops playing the guitar and becomes an engineer. But Ethan and Ash, Jules’s now-married best friends, become shockingly successful - true to their initial artistic dreams, with the wealth and access that allow those dreams to keep expanding. The friendships endure and even prosper, but also underscore the differences in their fates, in what their talents have become and the shapes their lives have taken.

Wide in scope, ambitious, and populated by complex characters who come together and apart in a changing New York City, The Interestings explores the meaning of talent; the nature of envy; the roles of class, art, money, and power; and how all of it can shift and tilt precipitously over the course of a friendship and a life.

©2013 Megan Wolitzer (P)2013 Penguin Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (1143 )
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4.1 (1017 )
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Winkie Cleveland, OH 07-11-13
    Winkie Cleveland, OH 07-11-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Uninterestings"

    There is nothing "interesting" about the book or the characters. There's no depth to any of the characters, and after hours of listening, I found I didn't care about any of them. There's nothing overtly wrong with the story - it's just boring. There are better books to spend your time on.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. DeLozier Hollidaysburg, PA USA 07-04-13
    M. DeLozier Hollidaysburg, PA USA 07-04-13 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    508
    4
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    "Great Book Terrible Narrator"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Only if they were going to read it, not listen to it.


    What didn’t you like about Jen Tullock’s performance?

    She just "read" the book. Very flat voice but what I found most distasteful was the speed she read at. It was as though she couldn't wait to finish!


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    yes


    Any additional comments?

    Great story following a group of friends through the years from teenagers to their fifties.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jacqueline PITTSFORD, NY, United States 07-03-13
    Jacqueline PITTSFORD, NY, United States 07-03-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Who want to Whine?"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Overall, the story was well written, but few of the characters were people I could identify with or found lovable. They all seemed to just whine their way through their trials and tribulations. Some of the characters could have been more interesting but were not well developed enough to become the "friends" often found in books. The story was also a little slow ... maybe because I wasn't caught up in any of the characters.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephanie ALBUQUERQUE, NM, United States 06-27-13
    Stephanie ALBUQUERQUE, NM, United States 06-27-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    87
    12
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    4
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    "Talented Narrator Occasionally Overdoes It"
    If you could sum up The Interestings in three words, what would they be?

    Money. NewYork. Friends.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Interestings?

    The moment where Dennis breaks down and hollers at Jules for being overly obsessed with her history at Spirit in the Woods — and observes that what she's really missing is not money or attention or talent, but her own youth. And the expansive possibility that always comes with that territory.


    What does Jen Tullock bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Tullock does voices brilliantly. She's clearly a trained actor, and she brings a distinct personality to each character in the book. I found myself starting to speak like her after a few days of listening to this, with her ironic-fast patter. But all her female characters except Jules sound like total idiots.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Pride & Prejudice: The 21st-Century New-York-City Adaptation


    Any additional comments?

    I definitely felt like Tullock brought a lot to this listening experience, and mostly that was good. I just wish she would give the same nuance to the female characters that she does to the men: Ash in particular sounded like a vapid Real Housewives Of X, when she's not really depicted that way by Wolitzer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Medina Seattle 06-26-13
    A. Medina Seattle 06-26-13 Member Since 2010

    Mama of One

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    43
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    "Best book of 2013."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This was such a beautiful, magical read. I finished it over a month ago and still find myself thinking about the characters. They have truly stuck with me. Rarely do I read a book that weaves such a beautiful tale while still thoroughly developing the characters to the point that they feel like friends. I will listen to this book again, to be certain. It would be a shame not to.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. Lewis San Antonio, TX 06-21-13
    T. Lewis San Antonio, TX 06-21-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
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    2
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    "A lot of cursing & sexual references"
    Would you try another book from Meg Wolitzer and/or Jen Tullock?

    No.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The most interesting part of the story was (spoiler) when Kathy was raped. The least interesting was the whining that Jules constantly expressed.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    I liked the ups and downs of the performance of each character but felt some details could have been left out.


    Was The Interestings worth the listening time?

    If it had less cursing and sexual content, maybe it would have been worth the listening time to a teenager.


    Any additional comments?

    It just wasn't for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelly Grinnell, IA, United States 06-02-13
    Kelly Grinnell, IA, United States 06-02-13 Member Since 2005
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    3
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    "Six Lives, Together Interesting"

    Meg Wolitzer takes the structure of the 19th-century novel, following her characters from (near) birth to their inevitable end, and throws in a monkey wrench—a complication made clear in the title: sometimes an individual life isn’t all that interesting.

    We meet the six ‘interestings’ in the early 1970s at a summer camp for artistic teens. Five of the six youngsters are privileged, while the sixth—Jules Jacobson—attends the camp on scholarship and remembers this period as the most important and most interesting of her life. We see what transpires after their first summer together primarily from Jules’s point of view, but also occasionally from the point of view of the other five characters. Two of the six become wealthy and influential, two go underground, and Jules and the sixth, the son of a famous folk singer, choose to pursue an ordinary instead of an artistic life. Despite their choices and fates, all six face the same mundane life challenges we all do—relationships, sex, money, career, illness, and death. But Life Itself—with the AIDS epidemic, technological advances, and 9-11 in New York City—remains large, and grand, and interesting over the course of the ‘interestings’ lives.

    Jen Tullock reads "The Interestings" with an appropriate mix of irony and urgency. In many ways, because of its classical structure, "The Interestings" makes an ideal audiobook; it’s impossible to become lost in the unfolding of its time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mandy Payne Hollywood, CA 06-01-13
    Mandy Payne Hollywood, CA 06-01-13 Member Since 2008

    Is it just me?

    HELPFUL VOTES
    151
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    "More Interesting than Expected"

    Truly enjoyed is book. It was a straight-thru listen for me, so that's rare. The story was not predictable, but totally believable. Loved it. Exceedingly well written.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dina LAKE ZURICH, IL, United States 06-01-13
    Dina LAKE ZURICH, IL, United States 06-01-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    173
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    "Great Premise but Disappointing"

    I really wanted to love this book as I totally enjoyed Wolitzer's The Ten Year Nap. But, I just kept reading and hoping, but it just didn't happen. The premise was easily accessible for me: gifted, Jewish, arty kids, who meet at overnight camp and become lifelong friends. But, the flipping back and forth in time and the constant changing of narrators was dizzying. I felt like a lot of story lines were introduced, but then just not thoroughly explored. And, the ending, well lets just say it was very abrupt. P.S. I thought Jen Tullock's narration was great...the speed seemed like a typical NY accent to me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    amy HARTFORD, CT, United States 05-30-13
    amy HARTFORD, CT, United States 05-30-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "awful"
    Would you try another book from Meg Wolitzer and/or Jen Tullock?

    Terrible story flow, narrator read too fast and tried to hard to sound like a Valley girl.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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