Study Guide

The Interestings Chapter 5

By Meg Wolitzer

Chapter 5

  • We're back in 1974 in this chapter, and that first summer at camp is over.
  • Jules has become a brat who thinks her mom and sister are stupid compared to all her special camp friends; she's also overly dramatic about the travesty of having to live in suburban New York instead of the city where everyone else lives. So it goes when you're a teen, though.
  • Jules flips through Ash's yearbook from camp and sees all of the boys who wrote love notes to her.
  • It seems like Jules is as much in love with Ash and the rest of the group as Ash's fond admirers.
  • Jules absurdly starts to cry about leaving camp and going back to her boring old life, and then Ethan shows up out of nowhere and starts babbling nonsense at Jules's mom.
  • Ethan is convinced that Jules is crazy about him even though their kissing was pretty bland and Jules thinks he smells gross.
  • Jules says goodbye to the other people in the group, and shares meaningless words with Jonah and Cathy.
  • For some reason, Jules is obsessed with seeing Goodman one more time and finds him in a dark room in the dining hall.
  • Jules chats with Goodman for a minute and realizes that he hates leaving camp as much as she does because he's basically a god there.
  • She reaches out to hug Goodman because she wants to feel his chest against hers… and then her mom and sister show up at exactly the wrong moment, ruining everything. Ugh.
  • Goodman peaces out without even a real goodbye and Jules cries at the injustice of it all; in the car on the way home, she decides her time at camp has made her discerning. Not to be haters, but she just seems kind of mean now.
  • Dramatic as always, Jules tells herself she's basically a kidnapping victim being torn away from everything she loved.
  • Back at home, everything is ugly in the suburbs.
  • Jules tries to avoid her mom and sister as much as possible and spends most of her time in her room calling the Labyrinth, which we learn is just Ash's house.
  • Jules composes letters (like, the paper kind) to her camp friends, but only really hears back from Ethan.
  • Apparently Jules continued to reject Ethan throughout the summer, a "wound" he will carry always.
  • Ethan's letters to Jules are filled with jokes about rejection, but we can't quite tell if they're friendly or bitter.
  • After the school year starts, Jules takes the train into the city and is relieved to find she still sort of fits with the group.
  • Ethan has just had an article come out about rising star teens that has a picture of him and a bad quote about animation.
  • The group discusses being interviewed, and all have predictable responses.
  • Jules bemoans having to choose a career and wishes a field would come to her, while Goodman lazily wishes someone else would make him famous.
  • Everyone worries that Ethan is on his way to being famous and might mess it up before then.
  • The group shares an idyllic little scene of smoking weak marijuana out on the street and wandering uptown in the safety of 1970s New York.