Fern Chasida's Reviews > Admission

Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz
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's review
Nov 08, 09

Read in November, 2009

Admission tells the story of 38 year old Portia Nathan, an admissions officer at Princeton University, who along with her colleagues decides the fate of the many hopeful teens who apply each year to Princeton University. Portia's personal story is intertwined with the admission process, from visiting high schools, through reading the applications brimming with academic and social success until the committee meetings in which the students' futures are decided upon. Portia's childhood with a radical feminist single mother is recounted and a secret from the past is first alluded to and finally revealed.

Admission drags at first, picks up a bit in the middle, and limps to an unsatisfying ending. Portia is not very sympathetic and ultimately it's hard to really care about her. The supporting characters - her mother, best friend, partner, college boyfriend - are not fully developed and fairly one dimensional, each filling a solitary role. The mother, who is described in greater detail is just not that likable. The story about the admission process was interesting though you're hit over the end with how hard the job of an admission officer is, having to sort through so many gems, maintain fairness, and deal with the fallout from alumni whose kids don't make the cut.

Admission concludes with a feel good ending that ties up all the loose strings and left me unsatisfied.

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