Meagan's Reviews > Admission

Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz
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's review
Jun 18, 10

Read in June, 2010

Admission is a very complex, engaging, informative read. In some ways I felt like I was having to learn how to read it, but I was happy to do so. The language is intelligent and beautiful, but not overtly so.

Portia, the main charater, is an admissions officer at Princeton. In the beginning it seems in some ways she has no story of her own to tell, merely the story of the admission process and these kids who are desperately trying to get in, but then she runs into someone from her past and I realize that not only is there more to this story, but my close third omniscient narrator has been withholding things from me.

I wasn't' sure how to take this at first. I had trusted this very detailed narrator to fill me up with all the necessary and pretty details, and here was something so large it seemed it should have at least gotten a quick mention. I decided to be intrigued.

Because of the slightly untrusty narrator I found myself figuring things out before Portia, only some of the things I figured out she already knew. It was a weird experience, but in some ways refreshing.

It allowed me to still care for this flawed person. Sometimes I didn't like her, sometimes I disagreed with her, sometimes I was rooting her on ever so silently. I was sucked in.

Everything is described in such a way that it made me care about it to the point where, when I got to the end, I was actually wondering about one of the students mentioned in the first 20 pages. I was wondering what happened to Portia's couch.

In fact, so much build up and attention to detail and character was given that I felt a little cheated by the ending. I am perfectly ok with what happened and why things were done the way they were. However I feel Korelitz holds back too much here. The whole novel both Portia and the Narrator have been skirting Admission, and when the end finally comes I would have liked to see much more of that out pouring type.

Mainly, without giving to much away, there is a conversation that we get to witness. It is satisfying and gives a sense of closure for those involved. However, this is the only "BIG" conversation we get to see. I am sure more are to come, and while I may not need to see all of them, if I knew I was only going to see one, I think there are other characters that deserve that page time.

This could be strictly my opinion and I suppose it shows a lot that I care that much about even the secondary characters and their thoughts and feelings. The end of Admission, is kind of (appropriately) a beginning. So I can see why it ends the way it does, but I would have liked just a touch more- even if it was telling me what happened to her couch.

Overall the book was a fun read. Worth every page. Worth every word. I love the complexity of it. It is smattered with those familiar yet distinct features of humanity that show the contradiction, the ins and outs of Admission, in us all.

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