It usually works out perfectly that I get to go on vacation right around the time of Julie Buxbaum’s latest release. I save it until the very end of our trip and spend our last day by the pool savoring every page while simultaneously flying through the entire thing. Unfortunately, this vacation season, quarantine happened and our upcoming trip/anniversary celebration was cancelled.
Lucky for me, about a day before I was kicked out of the office to work from home, I was approved by Delacorte Press to review Buxbaum’s latest book “Admission” on NetGalley.
“Admission” takes place in the midst of the college admissions scandal where the rich and privileged are doing whatever it takes to get their kids into the college of, let’s be honest, their parents choosing. Buxbaum does a great job showing all sides of this scandal with characters you find a way to connect with even through their insanity. I don’t mean to suggest all of these characters are likable, but they feel redeemable and that’s what counts.
Chloe Berringer is our main character, daughter of a famous actress and a hedge fund manager. She understands her family is “well-off” but she explains away her wealth by comparing their financial position to her billionaire aunt. She knows they have money but not that much money. This sort of cluelessness seems to be how she finds herself with the FBI at her front door and her mother being whisked away in a police car.
“Admission” is a novel about class, race, morality and, guilt. It’s about how something seemingly as small as the college you manage to get into has greater implications for society as a whole.
This book got me thinking about the lack of morality behind college admissions and why some methods are viewed as okay and others are can be charged criminally. It made me consider all the inner workings of an incredibly broken system that I could never understand from my socio-economic position. The discussion of this book could definitely make for some interesting book club discussion material.
Sidenote: Julie Buxbaum has a fun routine of putting a little easter egg from one of her previous books into her new novels. If you are a Buxbaum super fan like me, see if you can find the one in this book!
Side Sidenote: If you DO decide to have a bookclub talk about this, spend no less than an hour discussing Chloe’s best friend Shola. She is Chloe’s guiding light and really the only reason Chloe ever starts to “get it”.