When I got my library card last year, I pretty much threw myself a party (a quiet one inside the stacks), and I made a giant list of books and authors I wanted to read — The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer, was one of them.
Well, one of the adventures that comes with a library is the risk: sometimes they’re not going to have the book you want. And while they didn’t have The Interestings, they did have The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer.
As the book jacket said:
When the elliptical new drama teacher at Stellar Plains High School chooses for the school play Lysistrata-the comedy by Aristophanes in which women stop having sex with men in order to end a war-a strange spell seems to be cast over the school. Or, at least, over the women. One by one throughout the high school community, perfectly healthy, normal women and teenage girls turn away from their husbands and boyfriends in the bedroom, for reasons they don’t really understand. As the women worry over their loss of passion, and the men become by turns unhappy, offended, and above all, confused, both sides are forced to look at their shared history, and at their sexual selves in a new light.
I read this book in a flash. The idea doesn’t seem so original, since the plot is based off Lysistrata. However, as Jincy Willett points out in her New York Times’ book review, there are several differences between the texts. Mainly, there’s no war.
What I enjoyed most about The Uncoupling is its sense of magic. Wolitzer has an impeccable talent for telling stories, and even one about a sex strike has this sense of whimsy and magic — I love it! Plus, it was interesting to (mentally) travel back into the halls of high school.
Other books by Meg Wolitzer include Belzar (“…a breathtaking and surprising story about first love, deep sorrow, and the power of acceptance”), The Wife (“A Husband. A Wife. Their Secret.”), This is My Life (“…a smart, witty and perceptive novel about the daughters of a female stand-up comic who watch as their mother struggles to balance her career with the needs of her children), The Ten-Year Nap (“takes a close look at the opt out generation”), Sleepwalking (“the story of the three notorious ‘death girls,’”), and The Position (“dead-on observations about sex, marriage, and the family ties that strangle and bind”), among others.