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The Interestings

By Meg Wolitzer (Riverhead)

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If The Royal Tenenbaums was an epic-length novel, set at a camp for gifted children in the middle of the woods, it would be called The Interestings. A novel as shallow as it is detailed, Wolitzer’s newest tome is a series of overlapping character studies in disappointment. The protagonist, Julie, is sent to Spirit-of-the-Woods, a camp for pretentious, artistic teens, at the ripe age of 15, and discovers that she, too, is better than everyone. She becomes a temporary actress, upstaging averageness: she is one of The Interestings. The novel follows the group of friends though the disillusionment of their ensuing decades, and, while the reader can’t help but feel somewhat attached to its characters, their issues become repetitive and petty, reinforcing the imminent downfall associated with being growing up in The Age of Disappointment. Ultimately, this colourful pageant of ennui is, ironically, not that interesting.

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