Thursday, April 24, 2014

Review: The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer (Audiobook)

Here's the Goodread's description:
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 fifteen is not always enough to propel someone through life at age thirty; 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.

If you've read previous posts on my blog, you'll remember that this was my first time trying an audiobook!!  Yay!  The great news??  I loved every minute of it.  This one was really long, but it held my interest up to the end.  It also helps I think that I have about a half hour commute in the morning to work and a half hour to get home from work, so that's plenty of time for listening.  I don't think I would have enjoyed this as much if I only listened to like 10 or 15 minutes at a time.

The story itself follows the lives of a group of friends from the summer they all met as teens up to middle age, and I thought it was pretty perfect.  Each character has his or her faults.  Jules, for instance, always wants to be the rich, talented one.  But she isn't.  And it was fun to listen to how she ended up.  I kept rooting for her though.  I wanted her to be happy and comfortable and confident in her own skin. 

Each character, while they grow and evolve and experience major success or loss, has this group of friends to fall back on, to celebrate with, and to cry with.  I absolutely loved seeing their relationships change and get stronger with age.  While their relationships with each other weren't the same as when they were teens, they were still just as strong.

I keep telling my mom to read this one, because I think someone like her would really appreciate it.  She's older and has been best friends with some of the girls from her childhood neighborhood for years and years.  Sometimes months pass where they barely hear from each other, but that bond is always so strong.  And the book reminded me of that.  My mom isn't having sleepovers across the street anymore, but she still has just as strong a friendship with these women as she did 40 some years ago.

Title: The Interestings
Author: Meg Wolitzer
Narrator: Jen Tullock
Date of Publication: 2013
Hours: 15 hours, 41 minutes
Genre: Fiction
Source: Library

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