Monday, April 5, 2010

Admission-Jean Hanff Korelitz

Jean Hanff Korelitz
Grand Central, Apr 2010, $14.99
ISBN: 9780446540711

As she nears forty, Portia Nathan is pleased with how well opening the diversity doors to Princeton University as its admissions officer has occurred. She wishes her personal life was anywhere near as good as she and her mom are at best estranged with one another; she conceals something critical from her spouse professor David, and her lover the English Department Chair left her to move in with his pregnant girlfriend.

On a recruiting trip in New England, Portia meets John, a teacher at the ultra-alternative Quest School. They fall into lust while she also likes what she sees of the students especially Jeremiah, whom she hopes to bring to Princeton. John stuns her when he says they met years ago when he attended Dartmouth, a period she prefers to forget as she was single and pregnant with a decision to make.

This is an interesting glimpse at the admissions process at an elite Ivy League school. The story line is totally driven by the only fully developed character Portia with everyone else playing a stereotypical role in support of her; enabling the audience to see deeply into what makes her tick. Although her asides on admissions, relationships, and assorted sundry turn at times to loquacious, fans will enjoy the discerning look at the admissions merchant of Princeton.

Harriet Klausner

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