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Pleasant, but unrealistic
on October 13, 2006
It is suggested that one is supposed to suspend reality when reading a novel, as a novel is a work of fiction, but this is difficult when the story is about events that many people have experienced: Trying to get into college. First, getting into an ivy league university is much more difficult than touring for interviews. Secondly, this main character doesn't seem smart enough for this to have even been something he was considering.
The story is about a boy, Dylan, who driving to ivy league colleges with his dysfunctional family trying to get in - as the title suggests. The story is actually well described on the front of the book buy author and professor Richard Russo when he says "what it is really about is our universal fear that we are not good enough." This is certainly true, as each of the characters suffers from feelings of low self worth and masks it in different ways (some display confidence when it is obviously not there, some promiscuity, others just vomit).
I could go on, but I don't feel the need, because besides the problems I mentioned in the first paragraph, the book is pleasant. Obviously written by someone with a romantic view of higher education, which I appreciate (the author, James - who is now Jenny Boylan is a university professor in Maine), and the characters are generally likeable. The writing is not bad at all, although somewhat simplistic which only contributes to its pleasantness. If you can find it cheap it is worth a look through, but it is not something to run to the shop for.