The Interestings Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 51 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Interestings.
This section contains 437 words
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The Interestings Summary & Study Guide Description

The Interestings Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

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Overcoming one’s demons is the major theme of the novel The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. The story follows a group of six friends who meet at a summer arts camp. As they find their places in life, the six deal with their downfalls, prejudices, fears, and insecurities. Main character Jules Jacobson-Boyd learns that even with the sadness that each person faces, life is interesting enough to keep them going.

The novel touches on a myriad of issues that are relevant in today's world. For example, mental illness is a topic when Dennis Boyd, one of the characters, experiences a nervous breakdown. His experience relates the reality of depression and its ability to disable a person if it is left untreated. On another topic, Jonah, a gay man, tells his story of discovering that he is attracted to men and the trials of a relationship with a man who is HIV positive. Jonah also deals with his experience of having an adult steal his musical ideas and produce them as his own. It is only when Jonah tells someone else about his experience that he realizes this adult did not have the ability to take Jonah’s music away completely.

While Ethan and Ash seem to have a fairytale life and marriage, they too have their trials. Ash has been saddled with the care of her brother, the wayward Goodman who is living as a fugitive from the law in Iceland. Ethan is not aware that Ash knows her brother's whereabouts and that she is actually sending him money. Ethan has not been told because the family knows that the highly moral Ethan would not allow them to live in crime. When Ethan learns about Goodman, the couple’s marriage falls apart. Ethan has not been innocent in the breakup of the marriage as he had been harboring feelings of distaste for his autistic son with whom he is unable to connect. He avoids his family, often burying himself in his work. When Ethan is diagnosed with cancer, Jules encourages him to reconnect with Ash. The two reconcile before Ethan dies.

Jules, meanwhile, struggles with her jealousy of Ethan and Ash. Throughout the book, it is apparent that Ethan loves Jules deeply. However, she cares for him only as a friend. She loves Dennis, her husband. She knows that she could have been married to Ethan, living a rich life instead of struggling to get by on what she and Dennis make. However, by the end of the novel, Jules realizes she was not the person who was ever meant to marry Ethan.

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This section contains 437 words
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