Admission – Jean Hanff Korelitz

Title: Admission
Author: Jean Hanff Korelitz
ISBN: 9780446540704
Pages: 464
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!

Comments

  1. Great review Swapna. I have never read a book based on academia before and this sounds like an interesting plot. The process on the fence of the person admitting must be quite interesting.

  2. Great review Swapna. I have never read a book based on academia before and this sounds like an interesting plot. The process on the fence of the person admitting must be quite interesting.

  3. I just started this book yesterday and am finding it fascinating. I’m so glad those days are behind me, though.

  4. I just started this book yesterday and am finding it fascinating. I’m so glad those days are behind me, though.

  5. I’m looking forward to reading this. I worked in the admissions office at my college in the early to middle 1970s and had a say in who got accepted. I’m curious about the differences between my small college in the 70s and Princeton of today.

  6. I’m looking forward to reading this. I worked in the admissions office at my college in the early to middle 1970s and had a say in who got accepted. I’m curious about the differences between my small college in the 70s and Princeton of today.

  7. Just skimming this but I will be back. I just started it last night!

  8. Just skimming this but I will be back. I just started it last night!

  9. I’ve been seeing this book around of late and it sounds pretty interesting. I’ve never given all that much thought to the admissions process (outside of when I’m thinking about my own applications of course :)), but this sounds as if there’s more drama behind the scenes than I thought! Great review!

    P.S. And I love your blog! I’m adding you to my blogroll. 😀

  10. I’ve been seeing this book around of late and it sounds pretty interesting. I’ve never given all that much thought to the admissions process (outside of when I’m thinking about my own applications of course :)), but this sounds as if there’s more drama behind the scenes than I thought! Great review!

    P.S. And I love your blog! I’m adding you to my blogroll. 😀

  11. I’m glad to see you liked this one Swapna. I’ve got it in my pile coming up.

  12. I’m glad to see you liked this one Swapna. I’ve got it in my pile coming up.

  13. Great review. I work on a college campus and it’s difficult to change anything here. Faculty are set in their ways and administrators tend to cater to the faculty so it’s a never ending cycle. Change has to come from very high up and it’s so rare when that happens.

  14. Great review. I work on a college campus and it’s difficult to change anything here. Faculty are set in their ways and administrators tend to cater to the faculty so it’s a never ending cycle. Change has to come from very high up and it’s so rare when that happens.

  15. Wow! this sounds fascinating!! I applied to Princeton for college. I didn’t get in. I always thought they had something against NJ residents. At Johns Hopkins, every NJ resident I met didn’t make it into Princeton.

  16. Wow! this sounds fascinating!! I applied to Princeton for college. I didn’t get in. I always thought they had something against NJ residents. At Johns Hopkins, every NJ resident I met didn’t make it into Princeton.

  17. Great review, Swapna! That sounds like a book I’d like to read! 🙂

  18. Great review, Swapna! That sounds like a book I’d like to read! 🙂

  19. I am definitely adding this to my to-read list!

  20. I am definitely adding this to my to-read list!

  21. Great review! I linked to it (and expressed admiration for your blog) here: http://everydayiwritethebook.typepad.com/books/2009/04/admission-by-jean-hanff-korelitz.html

  22. Great review! I linked to it (and expressed admiration for your blog) here: http://everydayiwritethebook.typepad.com/books/2009/04/admission-by-jean-hanff-korelitz.html

  23. sounds like a book that I’d like to read. Thanks for this review.

  24. sounds like a book that I’d like to read. Thanks for this review.

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