Study Guide

The Interestings Chapter 21

By Meg Wolitzer

Chapter 21

  • Dennis goes back to work at his old clinic but Jules now has no job and no energy to build a new practice.
  • They're in opposite roles now with Jules being the one who is lost and Dennis making up for both of them financially.
  • Rory calls more frequently to check up on her mom.
  • One day, Jules's mother calls and says she's selling the house and needs help clearing out the basement.
  • Both Ellen and Jules go out to the old place and Jules wonders how her mom came back alone to that house every evening.
  • They are surprised to realize their mom buys organic food now.
  • Jules and Ellen talk (first time in the book?) and Jules apologizes for being all snotty when she came back from camp that first summer.
  • Ellen tells Jules she was never jealous of her (which is probably not what Jules wanted to hear).
  • Back in the city, Ethan's assistant finally calls Jules and asks if she's free for dinner.
  • Jules goes to the studio and talks to Mo briefly.
  • Jonah has started teaching Mo banjo via Skype, an arrangement that probably suits both of them.
  • Ethan has to remind Mo to hug him goodbye, then he and Jules head upstairs to a little kitchen area and have dinner in the studio.
  • He admits to being all messed up from the split with Ash and talks about how great she is—he could just never buy the whole "drama of the gifted child" thing, especially not after the child labor work he was doing.
  • Jules asks him what he thinks about the Goodman and Cathy situation and Ethan says his adult self thinks Goodman did rape her.
  • Ethan tells Jules that he met up with Cathy after 9/11 and she seemed traumatized all over again; he ended up contributing a lot of the funds she needed.
  • They talk briefly about Goodman, and Jules confesses she feels isolated.
  • Ethan asks about Dennis and learns that their marriage is rocky because of her self-absorption.
  • Having totally not learned his lesson, Ethan kisses Jules.
  • Jules feels like she's just repeating the first moment and breaks off the kiss, thinking about missing Dennis.
  • She goes to leave and Ethan confesses he has a melanoma.
  • Jules asks him for details in complete disbelief and finds out that Ethan has kept this info to himself—he's been in chemotherapy, but it hasn't been working.
  • Jules insists he get Ash involved but he only wants her.
  • Jules agrees to go with him to his appointments as long as he calls and tells Ash all of the secrets he's kept from her.
  • Jules gets home and Dennis notices immediately that something happened.
  • She blandly tells him about Ethan's cancer and Dennis picks up their rocky marriage and puts it back together so he can support her.