From the New York Times bestselling author of You Should Have Known (adapted as "The Undoing" on HBO) comes another page-turning masterpiece, this time on college admissions—now a major motion picture starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd.
"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 Princeton University 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.
Portia Nathan, the overly dedicated 38-year-old Princeton admissions officer, narrator of Korelitz's overthought fourth novel, finds purpose in her gatekeeper role. But her career and conscience are challenged after she visits a down-at-the-heels New England town on a scouting trip and meets Jeremiah, a talented but rough-around-the-edges 17-year-old who maybe doesn't measure up as Princeton material. The real rub is how making his acquaintance forces Portia to confront a painful secret from her past that ties into some domestic discord with her professor husband, David, and may lead her into a career-endangering fracas with the admissions board. The narrative is slow out of the gate, though it gets some pep once the Jeremiah-Portia angle comes into focus. And even if Portia tends to ruminate in an precious way, Korelitz makes good use of the sociological issues tied up in elite university admissions.
This author clearly know her Ivy League stuff, but finish the book and you wonder how a protagonist with a secret wouldn't have broken under the weight of all the admissions anxiety and privileged misbehavior long before a deus ex machina coincidence propels her toward becoming a whole human being.
Didn't care much for the tone and was surprised to find that a fiction about Princeton University used " 's " to indicate plurals. Good story overall but a disappointing read. I think the movie might turn out better.