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Admission Hardcover – April 13, 2009
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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From Publishers Weekly
Portia Nathan, the overly dedicated 38-year-old Princeton admissions officer, narrator of Korelitz's overthought fourth novel, finds purpose in her gatekeeper role. But her career and conscience are challenged after she visits a down-at-the-heels New England town on a scouting trip and meets Jeremiah, a talented but rough-around-the-edges 17-year-old who maybe doesn't measure up as Princeton material. The real rub is how making his acquaintance forces Portia to confront a painful secret from her past that ties into some domestic discord with her professor friend, David, and may lead her into a career-endangering fracas with the admissions board. The narrative is slow out of the gate, though it gets some pep once the Jeremiah-Portia angle comes into focus. And even if Portia tends to ruminate in an precious way, Korelitz makes good use of the sociological issues tied up in elite university admissions. (Apr.)
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From The New Yorker
Portia Nathan is a thirty-eight-year-old admissions officer at Princeton University, a place so discriminating that it can afford to turn down applicants who are “excellent in all of the ordinary ways” in favor of the utterly extraordinary—“Olympic athletes, authors of legitimately published books, Siemens prize winners, working film or Broadway actors, International Tchaikovsky Competition violinists.” Portia compares her job to “building a better fruit basket” and achieves career success by helping her institution pluck the most exotic specimens, but her personal life is permanently on hold because of a traumatic incident from her own college years that she has never come to terms with. Although the reader may unravel the mystery of Portia’s past before the plot does, the novel gleams with acute insights into what most consider a deeply mysterious process.
Top customer reviews
It was written in the third person, so I did not expect it to dwell on the main character's inner thoughts. I really got tired of reading about each individual application - the shortcomings and strong points of each 17 year old. Finally, after getting half way through, it began to pick up, but not enough for me to recommend it to anyone.
If you want to know everything there is to know about getting admitted to an Ivy League school, this is the book for you. Otherwise, just go see the movie. It has to be better.
I loved this book. It was much better than the movie in so many ways. I love Tina Fey, but she is not an actress who could bring the amount of depth of character that is described in the novel. The screenplay made the story more trite with the Hollywood tearjerker ending; the novel is much more complicated and layered. I did not want to put this book down and when I finished it was so sad it could not go on and on. I couldn't read another novel for a week. If you were expecting a purely comic novel, you will be disappointed. If you want to learn how Ivy league college admissions really works, this is better than any how-to get in college book out there. This is a coming of age book, about women's lives, a book about lost people who appear to have it all together in public, about mature relationships, about a New England lifestyles. Highly recommend.
The narrative had the tone like it's first person, but is written in the third-person. Many paragraphs were like third-person soliloquies that had so many impertinent details, I would lose interest and skip paragraphs just to hurry up and get to the next interesting part.
I got it for quick fluff reading, but it was really pretentious fluff that didn't feel like a guilty pleasure, but instead a chore I needed to finish (I am the type to finish books I start even if I don't like them).