Jules Jacobson, a gawky, inadvertently poodle-haired fifteen-year-old from New Jersey loses her father to cancer in the early 70’s. When she receives a scholarship to attend an artsy and vaguely hippie-ish summer camp in Massachusetts, her mother insists that she go. When she is seemingly randomly chosen to hang out in boys teepee #3 with the cool kids, lifelong friendships are forged. There is Ash Wolf, the ethereal beauty and her golden god brother Goodman, Jonah, the beautiful son of a famous folk-singer, Cathy, the top-heavy and mercurial dancer and Ethan, the self-possessed but unappealing (to Jules, as she is now called) animator. They ironically called themselves The Interestings. As the characters were roughly my age, I thought it would be fun to see the world and all its changes through their eyes and lives. The story moved back and forth through time a bit, revealing the requisite secrets and lies, the pairings and partings, births and deaths all through years.
The writing is clear and sly, sometimes pushing the boundaries of archness for me. While I could sympathize with some of the characters, I did have trouble connecting with them on a deeper level. Some of them I downright despised and when one big secret is revealed about halfway through (which was telegraphed pages and pages earlier) I was ready to chuck the rest (pretty much excluding Ethan, though) in the East River. The slightly annoying self-absorption became untenable and a malaise came over me as I slogged on through to the end. While I did enjoy the trip down memory lane and found some of Ms. Wolizters musings on creating an “interesting” if not always meaningful life engaging, the book ultimately left me feeling meh.