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Wolitzer Novel Lives Up to Its Title

theinterestingsPanoramic The Interestings meets expectations

By Emily Gatlin

emilygatlin@bellsouth.net

I recently became a contributor to BookRiot.com, where my sole job is to talk about books to a worldwide audience. My latest task was narrowing down the April new releases to my five favorites. It was hard to say the least. I receive dozens of books a week and unfortunately, I don’t have time for all of them. It’s the saddest part of doing what I do.

When Riverhead sent me a copy of The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer, I shelved the book I was already reading and got right to it. I’m a huge fan of Wolitzer’s work, so a new release is like Christmas come early.

The Interestings lived up to my high expectations and will probably be on my year-end “best of” list. It isn’t a book you should pick up if you’re looking for a quick read, but you shouldn’t overlook it either. The cover may be slightly off-putting if you’re a dude, so go forth and download. It’s worth it.

The book introduces six teenagers who met at a summer camp for the arts and follows them throughout their many decades of friendship. I love panoramic novels, especially when they have so much social commentary to offer. The main character, Jules, is a shy teenager and comes out of her shell, as an aspiring comic actress, only to learn that she really isn’t all that funny to other people. Ethan and Ash are an odd couple, to say the least, and marry each other, only to become a power couple after Ethan’s cartoon (think The Simpsons) has a never-ending run. Ash’s brother and “the dancer” Cathy have a scandal of their own, which sends Ash’s brother off the grid. Jonah, the son of a famous folk singer, decides to go into robotic design instead of following in his mother’s famous footsteps.

The book handles class, power, art, money, success, failure, friendship, and how one small thing can shift the entire course of a life. And it takes place in New York City. Who doesn’t love a little escape to The Big Apple?

emilygatlinEmily Gatlin spent four years as the manager of an independent bookstore in Mississippi. In 2012, she was nominated to serve on the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Board of Directors. She is a contributor for BookRiot.com, the Food & Drink writer for OfficialJane.com, and also writes for Invitation Oxford and Mud & Magnolias Magazine.

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