Korelitz, Jean Hanff

Book - 2013
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
"Admissions. Admission . Aren't there two sides to the word? And two opposing sides...It's what we let in, but it's also what we let out." For years, 38-year-old Portia Nathan has avoided the past, hiding behind her busy (and sometimes punishing) career as a PrincetonUniversity admissions officer and her dependable domestic life. Her reluctance to confront the truth is suddenly overwhelmed by the resurfacing of a life-altering decision, and Portia is faced with an extraordinary test. Just as thousands of the nation's brightest students await her decision regarding their academic admission, so too must Portia decide whether to make her own ultimate admission. Admission is at once a fascinating look at the complex college admissions process and an emotional examination of what happens when the secrets of the past return and shake a woman's life to its core.

Publisher: New York : Grand Central Pub., 2013, c2009.
Edition: 1st trade movie tie-in ed.
ISBN: 1455529796
Characteristics: 452, [6] p. ;,21 cm.


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Mar 27, 2015
  • MADKC4Ever rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

As a high school senior, it was really interesting to see what happens to your application after you send it in the mail. And I liked that I got to hear about it in a story/novel form, not an informative book just telling me how to make a good application. I enjoyed the storyline and the author's writing style, however 400 pages a bit long and near the end I was ready for it to be done. A solid four stars.

Nov 29, 2014
  • Persnickety77 rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

korelitz is very into describing what an admissions officer does... sometimes she rambles on about it so much it's like a rant, and distracts from the plot.
and that plot is ok, nothing special.

Sep 25, 2013
  • mariednguyen rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Perhaps the most interesting admissions conversation is between Portia and Helen, a snooty visiting scholar from Oxford, where the professors actually interview applicants. Helen seems surprised that the extracurricular activities of students are considered at all in the admissions process in the States, and she sympathizes with American faculty members for wishing the emphasis were less on Olympic athletes and Broadway stars. "The faculty are right," Helen says. "A university is first and foremost a place of learning. Not table tennis or refugee work, however noble that may be." Looks like somebody's kids won't be getting into Princeton.

Ms. Riley is the WSJ's deputy Taste page editor.

Apr 06, 2013
  • Jennmro rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

This isn't my typical type of book - its a little low on forward momentum and high on the internal monologue and the digressions, but I'm glad I stuck it out! Overall, I enjoyed it, and was suprised by the ending.

Mar 23, 2013
  • abroomfi rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I don't know how I came upon this novel, Admission, but perhaps Amazon pulled it up in the "Readers who also read _______ read _______, and I clicked on the plot synopsis and thought it sounded interesting. I did not begin the novel thinking I would find it all that well written, but rather, that I might find out more about the process by which a student gets into a pedigreed university like Princeton. So, it was a pleasant surprise to find myself actually engaged in Portia's and Jeremiah's story, and realizing that some of the characters were particularly well-developed, including Portia's mother, who does not so much make appearances in the actual plot, but who is introduced via Portia's flashbacks.

I thought that Korlitz's talent showed through when she depicts Portia realizing just who Jeremiah is, and from there, stopping the plot to explore what had happened to Portia as a student Dartmouth. Korlitz's ability to delineate the subtle but persistent anti-antisemitism that defines WASP culture, to write so descriptively of the impenetrability of the tribe of WASPS that Portia finds herself up against, is so well done. I also find Portia's difficulty to connect in meaningful and lasting ways with others expertly explained, albeit slowly, as the plot of this novel unfolds.

Lovers of Victorian fiction will be just fine with the various coincidences that pepper the plot of Admission, but these coincidences likely will not sit well with others.

Finally, I did learn a great deal about the admissions process at an Ivy League university, which was the reason I embarked on the novel in the first place.

Literary, smart, absorbing, informative: that's how I would describe this novel.

I have a feeling that the film will not do the novel justice.

Jul 08, 2012
  • MaisieMilo rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Didn't make it through this one, and I only rarely abandon books after 150 pages. I tried really hard to like the protagonist; I'm a teacher, so I tried really hard to relate to the diatribes on the admissions process . . . but I just couldn't do it. I sat on the fence for a while, but the flatness of the characters and something generally whiny about the tone put me off. At 400+ pages, not worth my time, sorry to say.

Aug 09, 2011

"Even if I weren't fascinated by academic settings, I would thoroughly enjoy being immersed in "Admission" by Jean Hanff Korelitz. Portia Nathan, an admission officer for Princeton University, buries herself in her work, neglects her relationship with her boyfriend, and feels her heart break several times a month for the kids who are "excellent in all the ordinary ways" — because it might not be enough to gain admission to a highly selective college. This is realistic fiction at its best with family secrets, love lost and found, and juicy tidbits about Ivy League admissions."
Linda Johns
Seattle Times


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Mar 27, 2015
  • MADKC4Ever rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

MADKC4Ever thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over


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Sep 23, 2013
  • mariednguyen rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Other: Release date March 22, 2013 (USA)


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