Karen's Reviews > Admission

Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz
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's review
Nov 28, 10

it was ok
Read in November, 2010

I had heard good things about Admission before setting out to read it. Having completed it now, I just can't understand why it has received any good press whatsoever! The author spent a few years reading applications at Princeton University, and her novel circles around the admissions process at Princeton and in the Ivy League generally. It has not been so many years since I was an Ivy applicant, so I can certainly appreciate the "inside" look into the admissions process and the tremendous chore facing universities as they have to distinguish among thousands of 4.0/1600 students. This book gives plenty of that, but if that's what interests you, there are better books - non-fiction books written by people with greater experience - for that. This is ostensibly a novel, with a plot and character development.

The plot was appallingly thin. The great *gasp!* moments barely illicited a response from me because they came out of nowhere, with no build up and no reason why they should happen. In fact, as I read, I found myself constantly thinking "I could have written this," not because I consider myself such a great writer, but because the intricacies and development that characterize great writing were completely absent. The characters were uniformly unidimensional, except for the main character, who I found very difficult to identify with or even feel much of anything about. She does something at the very end of the book (don't want to give it away!) that is absolutely terrible, and I was never given enough reason to pardon her for it. But not only was that action terrible, most of her action throughout the book (pursuing a romantic relationship with an administrator at a high school whose applications she will be reviewing) is entirely unacceptable. If the author meant for you to feel that way, that may have been an interesting book - I'm fine with a main character who is something of a "villain". But it seems the author wanted you to just accept it as though it was perfectly fine.

I would never recommend this book. Several times I actually rolled my eyes and had to set it aside because some new plot "twist" was just too ridiculous to accept. As I said, it is certainly interesting to get inside and reflect on the college admissions process. But find a book that will allow you to do that without subjecting you to inept story-telling.
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Karen You took the words out of my mouth! I have never felt so cheated by a book. The author treats her reader as though she has no imagination at all.

Karen Hi Karen - glad to hear someone else felt the same way!

Caroline This book has gotten so many good reviews its good to see someone that feels the same way as me; the book wasn't great at all.

Maggie Agreed!

Jennifer Braden I'm reading this right now. I really detest this book, but I have invested enough time into it that I feel I need to finish it. Ugh. I don't care about these people. How did it get published? Who would make it into a movie? People who are very out if touch with readers/moviegoers. Also, why is it always chicken Marbella? Why the use of the word schadenfreude? She used both in "You Should Have Known', which, incidentally, was an excellent novel, IMO.

GourmetPhD You may be interested instead in the new novel Slightly out of Tune which also takes place in an Ivy League --though a fictitious one (the author is a student at Princeton). It is not about the admission process but about life on campus and how much these schools which encourage "diversity" in admissions lead to conformity once the students are in.

Vivid I will never again be able to employ the word 'affable' without conjuring up the chaotic anxieties and beige personalities that populate Admission. Also, I am not sure I have ever encountered so much comma-centric exposition in my life, unbelievably.

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