Thursday, January 30, 2014

Early Decision (Lacy Crawford)

I seem to have very specific tastes in books.  Favorite topic?  Ghost stories set in English houses during the turn of the 20th century.  Another favorite topic?  Books about the high-stakes drama of school admissions.  I remember being on vacation in Boston and not wanting to do anything except read Jacques Steinberg’s phenomenal The Gatekeepers.  Another great book on that note?  Karen Stabiner’s Getting In (which I've reviewed on this site)For this reason, I was excited to read Lacy Crawford’s Early Decision, an account of one woman’s job as a “college consultant," and which Crawford says is "based on a true frenzy."

As is usually the case with these books, this is the story of a bunch of kids on their quest to gain entry into some of the most elite schools (mostly the Ivies and those adorable little schools in New England).  If Crawford stayed here and just highlighted the kids and the sometimes wacky lengths their parents would go to gain admittance for their children, Early Decision would be looking at a solid 4 rating.  However, the novel truly suffers and is bogged down from the unnecessary details of Anne’s (said consultant’s) personal life.  It seems like odd writing to go from stories about working with high school kids to the crudely represented minutiae of Anne’s bedroom.  This jolting back and forth really weighs Early Decision down.

I was excited to finally get this book but disappointed in the ultimate outcome.  Hopefully the next great school admissions novel will soon be on the horizon.