“This was a time of life, she understood, in which you might not know what you were, but that was all right. You judged people not on their success ― almost no one they knew was successful at age twenty-two, and no one had a nice apartment, owned anything of value, dressed in expensive clothes, or had any interest in making money ― but on their appeal. The time period between the ages of, roughly, twenty to thirty was often amazingly fertile. Great work might get done during this ten-year slice of time. Just out of college, they were gearing up, ambitious not in a calculating way, but simply eager, not yet tired.”
The Interestings was published almost a year ago but only recently caught my attention, while I was in the car, listening to an interview with the author. Meg Wolitzer was making her media rounds to promote the book’s release in paperback. The story follows the lives of a group of talented friends who meet at an artsy, hip, pretentious summer camp called Spirit-in-the-Woods. As they all grow up, some of them find incredible success through their talents, while others find that their talents are nothing but of the past. The book explores what kind of life you lead when you have – or don’t have – any exceptional talents or you have – or haven’t – done anything exceptional.
I didn’t learn all of that during the radio interview. But I did hear the author talk about “thicker, finalized adult selves.” She describes how difficult it becomes to reinvent yourself as you get older. She points out that comfort and familiarity become so highly valued that those priorities in themselves prevent any kind of radical change. Going into the nth year of my quarter-life-crises, I thought the book may teach me a few things – or maybe even serve as a warning.
Note: I probably trust reviews more than I should, because I’m a big fan of reading one or two before committing to a book.