The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
"The gang's all here!" books are absolutely in my wheelhouse. You know which ones I'm talking about... a group of friends that we meet as adolescents and get witness the dynamic of that same group as grown ups with jobs, bills and all the bullshit that adult life brings with it. I am HERE for that type of book. And The Interestings reminded me of the group of friends in It... minus the creepy ass clown and balloons being ruined for me FOREVER (thanks a lot, Stephen King)!
My favorite part of The Interestings is how Meg Wolitzer placed the unextraordinary friendship on a pedestal throughout her story. Ash and Jules were nothing special. They had a pretty work-a-day, comfortable relationship that progressed of its own volition. And, in my mind, those are the strongest and most interesting friendships. The ones that are born of nothing dramatic or interesting. They just... are. But those friendships are not often written of often because authors think there's nothing much to be said of those relationships. But as Wolitzer proved, an enduring and everyday friendship like Ash and Jules' is truly the most coveted and worthwhile of all relationships. And the dynamic between friends of that ilk speaks a lot to human nature.
Goodman's an asshole.
The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed. In The Interestings, Wolitzer follows these characters from the height of youth through middle age, as their talents, fortunes, and degrees of satisfaction diverge. The kind of creativity that is rewarded at age fifteen is not always enough to propel someone through life at age thirty; not everyone can sustain, in adulthood, what seemed so special in adolescence. Jules Jacobson, an aspiring comic actress, eventually resigns herself to a more practical occupation and lifestyle. Her friend Jonah, a gifted musician, stops playing the guitar and becomes an engineer. But Ethan and Ash, Jules’s now-married best friends, become shockingly successful—true to their initial artistic dreams, with the wealth and access that allow those dreams to keep expanding. The friendships endure and even prosper, but also underscore the differences in their fates, in what their talents have become and the shapes their lives have taken. Wide in scope, ambitious, and populated by complex characters who come together and apart in a changing New York City, The Interestings explores the meaning of talent; the nature of envy; the roles of class, art, money, and power; and how all of it can shift and tilt precipitously over the course of a friendship and a life.