At Spirit in the Woods, six gifted kids meet and become fast friends. In one of the boys teepees, Julie hangs out with Ash, Ethan, Jonah, Goodman, and Cathy. These teens want to become artists, dancers, or construct buildings. As they get older, as they mature and become adults, the Interestings as they call themselves, try to stay in touch.
The Interestings are a unique bunch of kids, all of whom try to achieve their dreams into adulthood.
Julie–who quickly calls herself Jules after hearing one of her friends call her this–becomes a therapist instead of an actor. She finds out that she’s really not that funny on stage, but likes helping people with their problems.
Goodman, due to a damning incident, flees the US and goes to live in Iceland for many years. He’s “the fuckup” as he calls himself, because his parents (mostly his father) believes that he will never be as good as his sister Ash.
Ash becomes a director, instead of an actor, and focuses on feminism and having more women on the stage.
Ethan, who was a childhood artist, propels his artistry into adulthood and creates a TV show out of his imaginary world Figland.
Cathy, due to the damning incident involving Goodman, doesn’t dance anymore, but becomes a businesswoman. She falls off the grid for most of the novel, just like Goodman.
Jonah, who was interested in making his own music, stops after being used for a year as a kid. He instead gets caught up a cult, then deprogrammed, and ends up working in engineering. Towards the end of the novel, he has returned to music, teaching one of Ash’s kids how to play the banjo. He also returns to playing music with some friends.
Overall, this novel was pretty good. I felt invested enough to read it in under two weeks, but I didn’t feel drawn to these characters. Okay, I lied. I liked Jonah and wished there were more chapters with him in it. He had an interesting mix-up in the Moonie’s cult, and I wish there was more information about his relationship with Robert, the guy he dates for years. The other characters were pretty interesting, but I never fell in love with them. I don’t go around thinking about them in my day-to-day life, which is fine.
If you like coming of age novels, and how your dreams change over time, this book is for you. Know that there’s more telling than showing in The Interestings, which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Still, this was a pretty good novel.