by Meg Wolitzer
So many books and movies portray summer camp as an idyllic fantasy. The Interestings isn't idealistic, it's real. The novel follows a group of teenagers with artistic aspirations throughout their lives. The author nails what it is like to be a precocious teenager who thinks everything they think and feel is epic and profound. Very few artistic children manage to make their art into a career, and The Interestings is true to life in this respect as it tracks the life of each character. Art leaves our lives for a variety of reasons, but it always lingers below the surface.
This book was a push towards self-reflection, for me. I found myself thinking back to my own childhood pursuits that I let go of in college, namely music. I felt guilty giving it up, but it was like I had to make a clean break from it in order to "adult." The experience of having that kind of passion for something as a child and the friendships I made with other young musicians was rewarding and a part of who I am. I felt very connected to the characters, who were complicated, funny, and imperfect. These are definitely characters worth knowing. There isn't a lot of flash in this book -- it is a steady-paced drama. However, The Interestings was a very satisfying novel to read as an adult.