Plain-vanilla Julie from a nowhere suburb gets a scholarship to attend an elite summer camp. She comes into her own, including shifting her identity to Julia. That experience, a formative one, shapes so much of the rest of her life. That is, until she gets it the interesting people suffer too.
That story is captured in the 2013 novel "The Interestings" by Meg Wolitzer. It resonates: Despite the passage of two years, it still ranks 7,071 on Amazon.com. Here you can order it.
Julia gets sucked into the world of the wealthy. However, she and the soulmate she chooses, Dennis, cannot earn what they do. Of course, she experiences discontent. He, a regular sort of guy from New Jersey, resents her misdirection. To recapture that game-changing episode in her life she even shuts down her psychotherapy practice and drags Dennis to become directors of the camp. Of course, that blows up.
The takeaways from "The Interestings" are many.
At the top of the list is the primary developmental task of finding out who we are. We can't borrow bits and pieces from others, then graft them onto our being.
Next is appreciate what we have. The grass isn't always greener. If Julia loved her own life, she would have just shrugged off the Christmas letter from her aristocratic best friend, Ash. Let's accept that life is full of diversity. Ash's lifestyle is different from Julia's. Neither better nor worse.
And, third, feel the pain. When she arrives at camp, her father had recently died. It was other campers who helped her start her grief work.
"The Interestings" touches on so many obstacles to achieving inner peace, contentment, and maximizing our professional potential.