Six teens meet at Spirit in the Woods, a camp for the arts, in the 1970s. Julie Jacobson’s life is altered in ways she never imagined. As she becomes part of The Interestings, her name is permanently changed to Jules and it is mainly from her point of view that we follow the lives of the six through the next several decades. A crime, a betrayal, and a secret bring the group down to four. Jonah’s story is interesting and he remains close to the core group, but chooses never to reveal a tragic incident in his past which holds him at a distance.
Ash and Ethan marry each other and remain close to Jules. Jules has a good marriage with Dennis. He loves her deeply, but can never quite compete with the Interestings’ bond. Illness, financial challenges, and even death confront the two couples. Throughout the backdrop of American history, the Interestings test the bonds of family and friendship.
In The Interestings, Meg Wolitzer has created a microcosm of life for the generation that came of age in a post-Vietnam, post-Watergate world, tried to enter the job market at the start of Reaganomics, and have a foot in two centuries: the tail end of the baby boomers who are trying to make sense of their lives.