Study Guide

The Interestings Lies and Deceit

By Meg Wolitzer

Lies and Deceit

"We'll make it be okay. Please tell her that. But say it later, when Mo's not around to possibly hear any of it, okay?" (3.66)

Ethan's asking Jules to share words of encouragement—what's the point of keeping them from Mo?

"You tell him. […] You have to. He has to know what you know. You can't start off with a secret." (4.160)

Can secrets get less important over time? Or does it forever damage a relationship to have one?

"If she was making it all up, would she really be such a mess? Wouldn't she be more of a fake mess?" (8.78)

This is interesting: The difference between real trauma and fake trauma is how classically traumatized a person seems. Seems kind of problematic as a rule, but insofar as Jules is talking about Cathy, we also kind of think she has a point.

Cathy's words had been disturbing, even shocking, but the firm, unified belief of the Wolf family carried its own, more significant weight. (8.114)

The truth: Sometimes it's real, and sometimes it's just a lie that's insisted upon until everybody falls into line.

"Because the thing is, we did not want Ash telling anyone. Anyone. Not you. Not Ethan." (9.114)

We're not sure we believe Mama and Papa Wolf. It seems like they're lying even as they're revealing the truth about Goodman.

But after Ethan became so successful there was a little more latitude for Ash to be in touch with Goodman and see him sometimes when she traveled. (11.116)

Ethan's money is what makes Ash able to keep up with Goodman—what did she do before that? Hide in the closet and make international calls?

"What does it mean that I needed to tell you?" He smiled happily. "It means something big!" (11.127-128)

Here the logic seems to be that if lies and secrets can damage a new relationship, then sharing these things can also solidify one.

"We live on a farm in Dovecote, Vermont, with a bunch of our friends. We've got some animals up there. It's a pretty amazing setup." (12.92)

Though things are certainly kind of wonky with the Moonies, at the same time, they really do seem to believe in the lives they're leading. So even if they're wrong about things, this seems different than flat-out lying. But feel free to disagree.

"You love her," Jonah said to Ethan indiscreetly. […] "Yes, of course," Ethan said in a curt voice. "She's my old friend." (12.141-142)

Is seems okay for Ethan to lie about this right here. He is, after all, standing right in front of Ash. Besides, doesn't it seem like everyone has agreed to lie to themselves about this? Go team.

"After we got back to the hotel we just got into everything. The whole marriage. He says that it isn't only the actual lie that gets to him, it's also the implications." (20.99)

Ethan and Ash's marriage is basically one giant web of lies. Bummer. But perhaps because of this, they're also able to move past it—they've equally wronged each other in this way.

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