Author: Jean Hanff Korelitz
Release Date: April 13, 2009
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
From the publisher’s website:
For years, 38-year-old Portia Nathan has avoided the past, hiding behind her busy (and sometimes punishing) career as a Princeton University admissions officer and her dependable domestic life. Her reluctance to confront the truth is suddenly overwhelmed by the resurfacing of a life-altering decision, and Portia is faced with an extraordinary test. Just as thousands of the nation’s brightest students await her decision regarding their academic admission, so too must Portia decide whether to make her own ultimate admission.
Admission is at once a fascinating look at the complex college admissions process and an emotional examination of what happens when the secrets of the past return and shake a woman’s life to its core.
As soon as I heard that Admission was about a Princeton admissions officer, I knew I wanted to read it. I love most books set on college campuses, not because I miss college, but because I romanticize the world of academia in my head. I feel like it’s this place devoted to learning and knowledge, above the petty politics of the outside world. Of course, it’s not actually like that, but I enjoy picturing it in my head!
Admission is an absolutely enthralling look inside the college admissions process. Written by a former part-time admissions officer from Princeton, Jean Hanff Korelitz knows her stuff. It’s incredibly interesting to see what really goes on behind the scenes. When you are applying to college, there is such mystery behind whether you will get accepted or not. I really loved reading this book about the other side. It was nice to know that there is a human face and are human emotions behind this difficult but crucial process.
I also really liked hearing other people’s arguments with Portia about the college admissions process, and her defense. I especially liked it when she went on her rants, about how whenever Princeton tried to do anything differently, it made someone angry. For example, when Princeton denies a legacy kid, the legacies get angry. But regular kids get angry when the legacy kids seem to have an easier time getting in. It’s always a trade-off; I’m not sure I thought of it that way before.
I liked the character of Portia. It’s clear that she was really invested in her job and took it seriously. She was passionate about her work, yet managed to be polite to those people that accosted her at dinner parties (I imagine that would be a huge downside to her job). She was an incredibly complicated character; it’s obvious she had hurts and pains stretching back to college that she hadn’t quite dealt with yet. The entire book hints around the mystery of what happened between her and her ex-boyfriend Tom. However, when the book finally got there, I wasn’t really that interested. I was much more taken by the college admissions storyline than I was about Portia’s past.
Admission is a fascinating read for anyone remotely interested in academia or in the college admissions process. I definitely recommend it!
Thank you to Miriam at Hachette Book Group for sending me this book to review!