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on August 11, 1999
Uniquely structured, this book takes the form of a college tour across New England. For anyone who has ever dreamed of strolling through Harvard Yard, getting lost on the rolling hills of Middlebury or being tapped by the Yale Society, this book puts a new spin on the ancient rite of passage facing high school seniors across America: college selection. But in reality, while this books operates under the premise of college selection, it functions more as a searing psychological portrait of Americans young and old, men and women struggling to cope with the mistakes of their past and retain hopes for a better future. Boylan brilliantly juxtaposes the psyche of the teenager confused by not knowing who or what to believe in but having an entire lifetime ahead with that of the adult, who having endured the trials and tribulations of age, must face the yearnings to be young again and start over. A very good read.
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on June 27, 2000
I am a fan of Jim Boylan and have enjoyed his previous books, but I particularly liked Getting In. The process of getting accepted into a college becomes an avenue to explore how one presents oneself, what constitutes success, what motivates us... all in a funny, tender look at growing up, finding oneself and being true to oneself. Sensitive understanding of dynamics of parenting, the college admissions process, and ties that bind in families. An entertaining book that will make you laugh, and if you are my age, remember when it all seemed so terribly important to the rest of your life what a college admission officer thought of you.
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on June 25, 2002
I read "Getting In" when it first came out a few years ago, and found it to be a sweet and funny look at the nightmare that is the college admission process. Boylan is an insightful writer who speaks from life and cares about his lost characters. I was, however, disturbed by the rather adolescent reviews I saw posted here on Amazon.com--calling the book boring and worthy of toilet paper. Boylan never claims the book as a guide on how to get into college, nor does Boylan claim to have all the answers. If you want a "how to" guide on getting into college, buy yourself something from Fiske or Peterson's.
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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.
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on February 28, 2007
I read the bio She's Not There (by the same author) and it's fantasic! I loved the writing style and the way the story was told so I decided to see what else had been writen. Getting In looked cute so I gave it a chance. It's not a terrible book but it's not the kind of thing I made all my friends read either. If your looking for a great well written book I hightly recomment She's Not There instead.
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on May 23, 2000
I was in the library today, and the attractive cover of this book interested me. I picked it up, started reading it in Physics and was finished by Government. A quick read -- simplistic characters and an aimless plot tend to save time. Think Princeton Review's College Guide with some gratuitous sex thrown in. Then again, anyone who can write, "His wiener was giant in there, like some burrowing gopher trying to dig its way out of his underwear" with any seriousness whatsoever deserves accolades. A pity Boylan didn't begin the book with that sentence. He'd have won the Bulwer-Lytton contest easily.
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on June 27, 2000
I am a fan of Jim Boylan and have enjoyed his previous books, but I particularly liked Getting In. The process of getting accepted into a college becomes an avenue to explore how one presents oneself, what constitutes success, what motivates us... all in a funny, tender look at growing up, finding oneself and being true to oneself. Sensitive understanding of dynamics of parenting, the college admissions process, and ties that bind in families. An entertaining book that will make you laugh, and if you are my age, remember when it all seemed so terribly important to the rest of your life what a college admission officer thought of you.
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on October 22, 1998
Just finished reading this book and since I have a son that is a senior this year it was very relevant. Even though most of the schools he is looking at are in the south, most of his friends are looking at the schools mentioned in the book. I found it very funny, very real (most parts at least!!) and loved the ending with the copies of the letters!! If anyone else is in the middle of this college process, please feel free to e-mail me...I think parents need their own college admissions support group!!
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on January 2, 1999
This book was great. There are not many authors out there that take the time to research and write about college-aged kids. Boylan gets to the issues that face many kids as they choose a school and learn about life. I love to read about this age group, and I feel Boylan is definitely in touch with them. I recommend reading this book, especially if you are a senior in high school, but also if you are in college.
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on November 30, 1998
This book was great. One of a very few great books in a very ignored catagory of readers: Intelligent young adults. Most books for teenagers are superficial and boring, but not Getting In. A great book for any young adult looking for an entertaining and amusing book that they can relate to. Boylan takes his readers along for the journey that will shape the futures of four young people. I recommend!
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