Summer camp in your high school years – a place where you can make a few summer friends, or in the case of Jules, Ash, Ethan and Jonah, friends for life. During the summer of 1974 these four teenagers find themselves building unlikely friendships and relationships in an arts camp upstate. Ash and Jonah are the beautiful ones with lives of privilege in New York City, Ethan is the gawky but talented one from a broken, and definitely not privileged, life in the City, and Julie, who arrives at the camp on scholarship to help her escape from her father’s death, leaves the camp as Jules, forever hating a middle class life in the NY burbs. This is the world Meg Wolitzer builds in The Interestings.
I was immediately pulled in to all of these characters, rooting for them even when they really annoyed me. Not only was I drawn to them because of who they were, but because Wolitzer wrote them all so beautifully, no one was one-dimensional, even with some of paths and breaks, and heartaches they had (maybe a little too much for 4 friends), they were all believable.
The book did seem a little long in places (we travel their journey from the 70s to present-ish day), more because I think Wolitzer didn’t want to get rid of some lovely passages she wrote, even if they were unnecessary to move the story along. But overall I found myself thinking in many places how well-written it was, and how Wolitzer can really turn a phrase. I’m glad I stuck through it in parts that were getting a little slow because it was so well worth it in the end.