ADMISSION by Jean Hanff Korelitz

First, a lament. Why am I such a slow reader? I don't get it. I am an efficient person, and I get most things in life done pretty quickly. But when it comes to reading, I seem to be pretty slow. I haven't been reading the last week or so, thanks to a volunteer commitment at my daughters' school (auction database – ugh). But even when I am reading, I am just slow. I follow a lot of book bloggers, and when I compare how many books I read to how many they read, I am astounded. Yes, I have a job and kids and other things going on, but so do most of them. Sigh. S. Krishna, Booking Mama, Jenn's Bookshelf, Books on the Brain - what is your secret??? Superfast Reader – should I do what you did and take a speedreading course? Being a slow-reading book blogger is like being a color-blind painter - it's a bit of a handicap.

I guess my lack of reading time and slow pace is why this is more of a book review blog than a book blog. I wish I posted more reviews of books I've actually read. Thankfully, though, there is a world of wonderful book bloggers out there whose reviews I can link to. And so, without further ado…

I read about Admission, by Jean Hanff Korelitz, on Reading is My Superpower. From Amazon:

Admission 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.

Here's what Reading is my Superpower had to say:

I liked the insider’s look at the college application process, and felt that Korelitz handled tricky material well. Though it got a little preachy at times, Korelitz usually managed to bring it back to the drama at hand. However, her structuring of Portia’s emotional journey wasn’t well thought out, and by the time her secret came out I’d guessed it a million times over. Korelitz backloads too large a chunk of the story, lessening its impact when all is finally revealed. I would have liked to have seen her integrate her revelations more consistently throughout the book.

Despite my criticisms, I found Admission to be eminently readable. I’m a character junkie, and between the snippets of applications essays opening each chapter, to the students Portia encounters while touring New England, and to the central figures in the story, I was thrilled with the variety and depth of the people Korelitz created.

S. Krishna also liked this book. She called it "an absolutely enthralling look inside the college admissions process. Written by a former part-time admissions officer from Princeton, Jean Hanff Korelitz knows her stuff. It's incredibly interesting to see what really goes on behind the scenes. When you are applying to college, there is such mystery behind whether you will get accepted or not. I really loved reading this book about the other side. It was nice to know that there is a human face and are human emotions behind this difficult but crucial process." She has a giveaway going on right now for three copies of Admission.

Kathy at Bermudaonion's Weblog also enjoyed this book and said she didn't want to put it down.

If you are interested in Admission, Jean Hanff Korelitz will be on BlogTalkRadio tomorrow (April 15) at 2 PM.

Incidentally, here are two more books about college admissions if you like this topic: Acceptance, by Susan Coll, which is in my TBR pile, and The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College, by Jacques Steinberg, a non-fiction look at one admissions season at Wesleyan.


  • April 14, 2009 - 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the shout out! And I honestly have no idea how I read so fast, it just kind of happens!

  • April 14, 2009 - 6:46 pm | Permalink

    your blog is great–you don’t need to change a thing about your reading 🙂

  • April 14, 2009 - 8:23 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the link love. I think I can read at a pretty good pace, but I don’t compare to SKrishna or Booking Mama.

  • April 14, 2009 - 9:17 pm | Permalink

    I’m a slow-reading book blogger/reviewer too. Between blogging (writing our blogs and reading others) and whatever else we’ve got going on in our lives, it can be hard to fit everything in. No words of wisdom to impart, just wanted you to know someone else can relate.

  • April 14, 2009 - 11:46 pm | Permalink

    I like to spend some time on the books I read. I like to get to know them and if they are really good then I linger even longer! I am lucky if I do two reviews a week. So you are not the only one that is a bit on the slow side. I don’t think there is anything wrong with it though.

  • April 14, 2009 - 11:51 pm | Permalink

    I’m flattered to even be in the same sentence as those readers!
    I just finished ADMISSION on Friday and I really liked it! Can’t wait for the radio show!

  • April 15, 2009 - 1:02 am | Permalink

    This book’s on my wish list thanks to a couple of the reviews you cited.
    I totally know what you mean about being a “slow” reader, as compared to other book bloggers. I’m doing a little better this year, but last year my pace was way off – and it’s ironic how book blogging takes away time from actual books! But sometimes it feels like it’s hard to keep up with such fast company. Luckily, book bloggers are a pretty understanding bunch.

  • Tina Cullen
    April 15, 2009 - 9:34 pm | Permalink

    I thought I was a relatively fast reader until I stumbled onto some of these blogs. I do like to SAVOR the really good books. I’m a little appalled at all the “challenges” I see; makes it feel like a competition or a race and for me, that’s not what it’s all about. It’s pleasure, not numbers!!

  • April 18, 2009 - 9:47 am | Permalink

    there’s nothing wrong with being a slow reader. sometimes when people read quickly, they’re not reading carefully- and their comprehension level shows it. slow readers have a better chance of actually understanding and thinking about what they read.

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