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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Book Review: The Interestings

Youthful friendships are a tricky thing.  Sometimes the bonds are formed before the personalities fully develop.  But when the friendships are made during the peak of adolescence, they are often nearly impossible to break - these are the only friends who can understand what it's like in those moments when you are just discovering what the world has to offer.  Julie Jacobson was a gawky teen when she entered Spirit-in-the-Woods summer camp, but by the time the summer was over she is the confident, funny Jules thanks to being allowed into the inner circle of campers, The Interestings.

From an outsider's perspective Jules should have grown out of her friendships with Ash and Ethan who are both richer than rich vs. her ramen noodle budget.  And their lives have all taken a different turn from that of Jonah who has come out as a homosexual, joined and then returned from a cult, and now leads a quiet life developing robotics.  But something about that summer sealed these friends together and countless hurdles have done nothing to tear them apart.

I often wonder if I would still click with some of my friends if I had met them now instead of in childhood.  In some cases, the answer is probably no.  But Meg Wolitzer's novel reaffirms that it doesn't really matter why people are friends, only that they tightly guard the friendship once they have it.  If we only kept around the friends we made when we were older, I'm sure we would be far less interesting.

3 out of 5 stars.


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