Yeah, I know. I’m a little late to the party. This book that everybody seemed to be reading just hit my radar. I’m practicing up for being a little old white-haired muzzy-headed lady, sweet but confused. How am I doing so far?
The Interestings are a group of teens who meet at Spirit-In-the-Woods arts camp. The slightly more predominant protagonist is Julie Jacobson, age 13, average middle class, whose father died in January, and who is fortunate enough to obtain a scholarship to the camp. She is quiet, and held back in the midst of the other kids, mostof whom are highly talented in the various arts, and all from well-to-do families.
The camp is owned and run by
Manny and Edie Wunderlich, two aging Socialists who were legendary in the small, diminishing world of aging Socialists.
A small group of teens forms, and decided they were the elite of the camp, for no reason other than they said so, and for some reason, one of the girls of the group invited Julie to join them in one of the teepees, where she quickly became one of them when they discovered she could be funny, and amuse them. They decided they needed a name, and chose The Interestings, so that everyone would know they were interesting. Mostly what they were was ironic, in the 70s, long before hipster irony became de rigueur.
The group consisted of Ash Wolf, graceful, kind, and beautiful, and her handsome older brother Goodman, with a talent for design, and an even bigger talent for self-centered idleness, Ethan Figman, truly a homey boy with an exceptional talent for animation, long before anime and the adult nighttime cartoons became fashionable, Jonah, a musician, whose mother was the extremely famous folk singer, Susannah Bay (think Joan Baez or Judy Collins), and Cathy Kiplinger, a strong dancer with the body of a Russian body builder, huge breasted, and totally unsuited for a career in dance. They begin to call Julie ‘Jules’, and it fits so well, she becomes a somewhat different person, more confident and eager.
The story follows the lives of the the group members from the seventies when they were teens, into their fifties, as they continue connected as a group and remain friends. Who marries who and who doesn’t marry who and who and who have a dreadful episode….. well, if you are like me and like gossip of the benign kind, reading this book about the lives of these people whom we come to know quite well is just fascinating. You want to go get a cup of coffee and a danish and sit down with your elbows on the table and say, “And then what happened? She did what?”
Yep, it’s that kind of book. The kind about which you say, “Well, I prefer something a bit deeper..” and then can’t put the darn thing down, and when it ends, you say, “Yeah, but THEN what happens?”
It’s all about loyalty – friends loyalty, family loyalty, marriage loyalty. And the kind of drama that occurs in everyone’s life, and make for good coffee klatsch fodder.
I gotta go dig up some other stuff she wrote, see if it is as good as The Interestings, because, gol dern it, they WERE interesting!