Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz
Published by Grand Central Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Group
Rating: 4 stars
Portia Nathan is an admissions officer at Princeton University but the endless hours and dedication to her job are starting to take a toll. As Portia's quiet life takes some unexpected turns, she is forced to reevaluate her priorities and come to terms with the changes.
Admission provides an interesting glimpse into the world of academia and the process of selecting the elite students that comprise an Ivy League university. It's clear that Jean Hanff Korelitz has done a great deal of research, in addition to her background as an outside reader for Princeton's Office of Admission. This was both an advantage and disadvantage in my reading of the novel. On one hand, I enjoyed hearing all about the intricate details and getting an insider's look into something I've always been curious about. The downside is that there were parts I felt I needed to skim through because they were a little too detailed for me and detracted from the bigger picture and overall storyline.
Though the narrative is somewhat detached and lacking in emotion, I still felt surprisingly connected to Portia and invested in her outcome. While reading the book it seemed like I was getting to know her pretty well and so when she makes a decision near the end of the book that seemed contrary to her character, I was really shocked. That particular choice was a life-altering one for Portia, even though it was still executed and narrated in a very subtle manner.
Admission is a very quiet novel. The primary focus is on Portia and her reflections on her life and the important choices she must make. This is not the type of book that features any action or huge plot twists, but it makes for enjoyable reading due to its subtlety and intelligence.
BIG THANKS to Miriam and Hachette for my review copy.