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Showing 1-10 of 1,511 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 1,920 reviews
on February 19, 2017
Ultimately I find myself very perplexed about my feelings for this book. For the first 400 pages or so, I couldn't put it down. The characters, their personalities, and every situation are described in such detail (often with surprising precision) that you can picture everything perfectly, as if watching an expertly-shot movie that spans decades, and therefore end up caring about these people and what will happen to them.

But somewhere in the 400 range, it becomes painfully evident that it's going nowhere interesting. She sets high stakes in the secrets the characters keep from each other, leaving the reader expecting their endings to fit a perfect work of fiction rather than mirroring the mundanity of actual life.

SPOILER ALERT - it's the latter of the above. A decades-long secret outed by the simple act of not knowing one was on speaker phone? Come on. The book's felon on the lam never caught? WTF. Skin cancer being another's ultimate demise? Bo-ring!
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on November 29, 2014
I couldn't put this book down. It is so artfully executed and vivid that it is a wonder to me that it did not win the National Book Award, for which it was shortlisted. This is the story of a group of friends who grew up in the 1970s, and the evolution of their lives and careers. To me it was about the value of long friendships, and the power of social capital to sustain and transform lives and give them meaning. But it is also about authenticity, integrity, entitlement, money, sexuality and mental illness. I think if this had been written by a male novelist it would have been dubbed some version of the great American novel.
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VINE VOICEon May 11, 2013
About halfway through reading The Interestings, I started to wonder when it would get interesting and whether all the critics that had written such glowing reviews read a different book than me. Nope, this was the book that is so revered this year. But I really don't know what all the fuss is about. Wolitzer is a skilled writer, of this I have no doubt. She seamlessly moves from past to present, from different narratives with perfection. But the story? Yes, it was good but not great and certainly not brilliant. So she writes about people whose lives are not what the expected it to be when they were teenagers. Pretty much most people feel that way, we grow, we change, life happens. Friends may stay in our lives, but those lives move in different directions. Different decisions are made, there are differences in socioeconomic statuses. Not necessarily to the point of having friends that are millionaires but enough of a difference. This just makes Wolitzer observant but there wasn't any profoundness in the story. No creativity. Any skilled writer could have written this but there was nothing to make it special. Read it only if you want to be part of the hype. Otherwise, I would recommend some better novels I read this year, like Reconstructing Amelia, The Silver Linings Playbook, The Painted Girls to name a few. You won't regret it.
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on April 3, 2014
The literary formula of using a group of friends to tell a tale is very appealing to me so I enjoyed this book - but I must admit it did have a slow start where I was thinking - ok this is so not interesting! But give it a chance to build! The story follows a group of 6 teens who meet at a creative arts camp in the 1970s. We observe their lives - some mundane (small) and some famous (big). Their intricate friendships ebb and flow as time goes on. They all seem to want to go back in time to the halcyon camp days....Can we ever get a 'do over'? And if we did, would that make us happy? If you are in the age range of these characters, chances are you have contemplated these types of thoughts...I really enjoyed the story and the characters and the background settings of camp and contemporary NYC. This book will also give you food for thought about what makes a kid become 'special' - what makes some talents soar and others swan dive? And also, given the chance - would you want to try and go back and re-create a happy, distant past chapter in your life? Hmmmmm isn't that an 'interesting' conundrum?
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on November 17, 2014
Despite following the main characters from adolescence to middle age, none of them have real arcs or development. Events happen to them but no one changes or grows as a person. This makes for a tedious read.

The author also doesn't believe in "show, don't tell," which adds to the dullness. For example, the main character Jules is supposedly really funny. The author constantly tells you this, Jules always says so in her monologues, and the other characters also describe her as so. However, I didn't laugh once during this book. Jules makes a handful of (lame) jokes here and there, but her thoughts are so ordinary, nothing original or particularly clever. Real missed opportunity. If a character is funny, show us through thoughts, behaviors, dialogue, etc. Just saying so doesn't make it so. All the characters lack depth this way. They author describes their unique traits but they all basically speak and behave in the same ways so aside from what happens to them, they're mostly indistinguishable as personalities.

Jules also lacks depth because you don't understand her motivations. She is obsessed with this wealthier group of friends, particularly Ash and her family, and Jules basically disowns her mother and sister, who make maybe 3 brief mentions/appearances. The author never explains why Jules dislikes them so much other than they aren't as wealthy as Ash's family. Amy's family is also described as interesting, but again, instead of providing dialogue showing this, the author just tells you so. Really they come off as very bland.

Maybe I'm missing something ironic or meta given the title,but none of the characters are that interesting. A few interesting events happen TO them, but they're otherwise all passive, forgettable personalities. Boring read.
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on December 7, 2015
It seemed I got to a point where everywhere I looked I was seeing this book or hearing of it. So I dove in!
It's a great look on how a person's complete persona can be defined by one season and/or one group or community and how we go out into life and wrestle with life trying to change that label you were once annointed.
There were times the author spent a great deal of time and attention to detail on and then years explained in mere moments. Which is quite misleading because it gives you the sense that there is a distance between your heart and the character's world only to be bludgeoned with how deeply you do indeed care. Trust me. You will care. Great read! Highly recommend!
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on August 4, 2013
I really enjoyed this book and blazed through all 500 pages in 3 days. From the first page to about half way through the book it was just a joy to read - I found the last few hundred pages a bit rushed and there was an element of the plot that just felt contrived to me. I won't spoil it here but will hint that it is a job change for Jules and her husband Dennis. I just didn't see that happening. I thought the relationships between the characters were so readable and enjoyable and I could relate to so much of it. The last 30 pages felt super rushed and unresolved to me but the book was already so long that I don't think the author could have done much more to provide resolution. But the characters were so real and full and I really liked them all (well, except for Goodman). But "the interestings" ultimately were not that interesting - just normal people hoping for interesting and important lives. Which was the point to the book I guess.
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on April 14, 2016
Given the rave reviews from the press, my book club chose this novel at our February meeting. Some stats from our recent meeting to discuss:

Out of 10 members at our April meeting, only one enjoyed the book. Seven were unable to make themselves finish, which is remarkably poor. One of our older "New York transpants" hated it. So it wasn't an East Coast vs. West Coast issue. This is only the second time I have not finished a book club pick. At 62% (thank you Kindle) I decided life is too short to make myself finish. So it could have gotten better, but I was unwilling to waste any more time waiting for that to happen. To generalize, this a book about characters and I found the characters unlikable, as did the vast majority of my club.
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on July 19, 2016
Meg Wolitzer has created wonderfully complex, flawed characters whose lives we witness from adolescence through adulthood. I was taken with them in the beginning and could not let them go. I actually found myself at one point longing to be part of their tight knit group, but wondered if I’d ever be considered interesting enough to be invited. Of course, it turned out that being an Interesting was not everything the young adolescents thought it would be.

Wolitzer too frequently dumps obscure (at least for me) literary references and employs dictionary-defying word choices when simpler ones would do, but overall this is a wonderful read whose characters will remain with you long after the book ends. Of particular note is Wolitzer’s ability to relay a circumstance from multiple perspectives while allowing the reader to render his or her own judgment. The incident between Goodman and Cathy is one outstanding example of this.

As a huge non-fiction reader, The Interestings is not something I would ordinarily have picked up. But I was more than pleased that I did.
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on August 13, 2013
As a "boomer" and someone who has had a career in the arts I was initially intrigued reading about the lives or artistically inclined teenagers who were teens at about the same time I was. But as their lives progressed in the novel I just could not find much to sink my teeth into. I found myself just becoming bored and somewhat annoyed with main character who narrates the story - she doesn't seem to know what she wants, or at the very least is too cowardly to go after it. That didn't seem to fit with the apparent theme of the novel. Yes, there are references to pertinent issues of the last four decades that were weaved into the story in a pleasing way. I just didn't find the the novel as a whole all that "interesting".
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