The Interestings

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The Road Not Taken

Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings is a buzzy book.  Having read lots of great reviews and several of Wolitzer’s prior books, I reserved my copy at the library and waited a month or two.  My ship book came in last week.

It was worth the wait.  The Interestings is the best book I have read in 2013 thus far.  The theme of the book is The Road Not Taken.  The book starts at an Arts Camp in the Berkshires and follows a handful of smart, sophisticated characters from adolescence through midlife.  What happens when we think we are, excuse the expression, Hot Shit when we are young, and we fail to succeed? This happens to everybody to some degree;  part of the heartbreak of growing up is the realization that the sky is not the limit, that talent is rare, that we will not become a professional baseball players or ballerinas.  What happens when we commit to a relationship, but always wonder what would have happened had we chosen someone else?  The Interestings successfully explores these questions.

Part of the reason I liked the book so much is that it is a theme that I – a 48 year old woman who just had a mini-midlife crisis via a disastrous short-lived job change – can relate to.  But it is more than that.  The Interestings succeeds on many levels.  The characters are wonderful.  The plot is strong.  The book is engagingly written.  Parts of it are laugh-out-loud funny.  And the theme, as I mentioned, is great, interesting (as befits the title!), thought-provoking, and beautifully realized.

Rating: **** (out of ****)

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