My turn to pick a book was coming up. It had been a while since I’d picked a book so I did all the best research – looking on Amazon, GoodReads, NPR, and the New York Times Bestseller List and I came up with The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. I was attracted to it because of its flashy cover. When it arrived to the house and I showed my dad, he wanted to read it because the cover was just so… interesting. But when I started to read the book… I just wasn’t into it.
My brother and I had our book club on July 6th. Neither of us had finished the book. We were just 75% through it. But because I picked the book, I was determined to finish it and I did, though I only gave it a 1.75/5 rating. Yeah, it wasn’t the best.
The Interestings has a pretty good premise. Six kids meet at a summer camp called Spirit-in-the-Woods in the 1970s, an art camp in which they are encouraged to discover their creative juices, follow their passions, and live freely. I loved this idea. It’s one of the reasons I actually set out to pick this book for the club.
But from the beginning, when Jules was introduced as the main character, I was lost. Jules was such a boring person to focus on. She was never content and always wanted to have what others had rather than what she had. She envied her friends in such a way that she became jealous and backstabbing whenever they weren’t around.
The other characters were pretty much just as bad. The two most compelling of the six were Ash and Goodman, two characters whose perspective you never hear. You hear from pretty much everyone else, but do you hear from the intriguing siblings after the “event” (something that changes the lives of most of the characters or at least their group dynamics)? No.
I know that The Interestings has been praised by some and will remain on the staff selection shelf at bookstores, but if you want my opinion, I’d say skip it. It’s 468 pages of incoherent strangeness. I bought it and I plan to sell it as soon as I can. My best advice: read a classic you haven’t read from BBC’s The Big Read List, I’m sure you’ll get more out of it.