Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Summer Camp and Beyond

I'll admit that I didn't think I would make it that far with Meg Wolitzer's new novel, The Interestings, mainly because I often find that novels in this day and age that are over 500 pages suffer from a lack of editing.  However, I was quickly drawn in by Wolitzer's swift and humorous writing style.  The Interestings tells the story of a group of friends who first meet at the arts camp Spirit-in-the-Woods, in Massachusetts in 1974.  After the one summer in which these friendships are solidified, Wolitzer follows the group of friends from their teens into their adulthood.  Jules Jacobsen, the one camper who didn't grow up in New York City with wealthy parents, is initially surprised to be invited into the group, but her offbeat humor is winsome to the others.  Ethan Figman, a budding cartoonist, is drawn to Jules romantically, though the two remain friends for many years to come. Ash and Goodman Wolf, the siblings of the bunch, are a mysterious twosome whose lives take unexpected turns.  Jonah Bay is the somewhat elusive and aloof son of a famous female folk singer.  The novel explores how the friends' lives are affected differently by fame, fortune, marriages, children, etc.  After all, not everyone who is a talented teenager at an art camp can make it big, though of course, some do.  I found the novel to be very funny, poignant, and well-written, with a cast of motley characters.  Recommended, especially as a good summer read!

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