Anyone need a break from the world? I did. I needed something to read that would simply entertain me, and keep me off Twitter, and give me a few hours respite from the scary world (rename blog Books to Read When You Have An Anxiety Disorder?), and so I picked up Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel, and it worked! When I say that it’s a light novel, I do not mean to disparage it at all, because it is well written and thorough and it will push you through a February slump. It is nice, every once in a while, to read something where no one is being psychologically tortured.
The story centers on four friends in the first few years after college, trying to figure everything out in New York City. Our protagonist, Kate, has been recently dumped (in Charles de Gaulle airport!) and has handled it by not changing out of sweats or bathing in months… as one does. Her practically perfect sister, Angela, spends most of her time trying to ‘fix’ Kate, despite having a career, husband and child. Her friend Chloe blames herself for what has happened to Kate (Kate’s ex-boyfriend is Chloe’s cousin, all other reasons are pure codependence) so she tries to make up for it with fruit baskets and chocolate. Victoria, like the reader, just really wants Kate to get over herself and get the hell out of bed.
Finally after many months that are purely realty related unrealistic, thanks to Angela of course, Kate gets an opportunity to work in the admissions department of the prestigious Hudson Day School in Manhattan. The ensuing story centers on a season in the high stakes games of school admission where entitled children and sometimes terrible parents compete for a spot at mini-Harvard. Kate becomes completely immersed in her job, and slowly starts to heal, leaving her well-meaning but ill focused friends in a state of confusion. There was a lot about this book to like – it is funny and the plot of it sets out threads that pay off all over the place. The book manages to capture the feeling of not having any clue what you are doing when you are in your early twenties. It’s not going to cure cancer, but I bet you will enjoy it.
Small Admissions – Grade B