The Price of Admission by Daniel Golden

The Price of Admission (Updated Edition): How America's Ruling ...

This book was recommended to me by my friend who accidentally found this book online while she was exploring her college options as a student who needs financial aid. I wasn’t exactly drawn to reading this book at first simply by looking at its title. The United States of American is a nation where equality, justice, and freedom prevail, I thought. But curiosity still prompted me to read the first few pages of this novel and I was truly surprised at how much the rich and wealthy alumnus parents manipulate college acceptance officers to help enroll their children in the Ivy League universities.

I didn’t feel bitter because of the rich kids who, with mediocre academic records and criminal offenses managed to get into Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Stanford. Well, life is unfair, and their parents just naturally are more powerful and connected to tycoons who with a phone call ensures the matriculation of a child into these universities. What I felt to be a decline in democracy, meritocracy, and most importantly, the prominence of the American education system—one which the U.S. proclaims to be of the top in terms of its position in the world—is the fact that scholarly institutions are no longer willing to discover talent and support intellectual efforts from the rough and lower socioeconomic tiers.

Wealthy legacy and children of generous donors occupy spots that they don’t deserve. Perhaps they don’t even think how many nights did students from working and middle class spent studying instead of partying like them. Is the advancement of education really still the major goal and core of private institutions, or in maintaining their status in the academic community and attracting tycoons their one and only aim now?

-Coreen C. 

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby is truly a conundrum. It is a story with intricately woven twists and turns. It is one of those novels where the true meaning of the plot is invigorating and the comments that Fitzgerald makes about the society in the 1920s are astounding. It was the first book I was glad to have read in an English class and not on my own. The nuance in the text adds to the story and having a teacher there to explain it all made the book more intriguing.

This is a book to delve into the world of the roaring 20s and for one to get lost in the madness of the time. It is one of those novels that is so exquisitely that it feels as if one is living in the story. Every minute detail of the picture is painted allowing one to see the world Fitzgerald is commenting on. One of the best parts of this book is how easy it is to lose one’s self in it. Reading this book feels like being transported back into time which is not only educational but also a great time passer. Reading this book feels as if no time is passed at all because it is so easy to start reading and then look up at the clock and see that hours have passed.

This story, focusing on a man Jay Gatsby and his extravagant lifestyle sorts through the lies, mistruths, and rumors that are constantly thrown around about him. Gatsby’s confidant, Nick Carraway helps balance the story showing the difference between the honest truthful citizen and the corrupt misleading money-hungry rich. Through these, to characters and the people that surround them, Fitzgerald tells his story. However, his story is a criticism of society more than anything. He portrays the disparity between the rich and poor.

The comments on society are the most interesting part of the book. It is so elaborate yet truthful that it makes one wonder. This wonder keeps one coming back to the story until the end. This story is one I would recommend to someone who wants an interesting read. I read that is for more than just fluff but instead has true meaning.

-Ava G.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby is one of those rare novels that remains enduring long after publication and lives immortally within the minds of its readers. Crafted with frothy and beautiful prose, Fitzgerald proves himself to be one of the greatest American authors of all time.

Set in the lost empire of the Jazz Age, Fitzgerald weaves a tale with poetic and fluid words about the longings and desires of humankind. It’s slathered in lavish parties and flamboyant characters but maintains a darkly whimsical nature, one that is utterly timeless. And, unexpectedly rising from its seemingly superficial exterior, The Great Gatsby teaches us about the intrinsic nature of humanity.

We are brought to the stage by Nick Carraway, whose ever-observing eye captures the details of our story with unrelenting vividness. Jay Gatsby, whose five-year purgatory awaiting redemption with silver-voiced Daisy Buchanan, possesses unfathomable charisma that jumps out at you from the page. By the end of the novel, the reader is stunned by the burning revelation that all people are exactly the same as Gatsby—reluctant to let go of the past and stagnant between ghosts and the present.

If you’ve already watched the movie, it’ll be hard to disassociate Leonardo DiCaprio’s disarming smiles from Gatsby’s arresting charm – but DiCaprio and the partygoer seem to diverge once pulled into the mystery that is Jay Gatsby. Upon climax, Gatsby ventures darker than did ever the reputation of sunshiney Leo, but that is a debate for another article.

Altogether, I’d have a grand total of two words to say in conclusion: read it. Read it and marvel at the literary artisan that is Fitzgerald, then wonder what ever did happen to his wayward characters.

– Esther H.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is available at Mission Viejo Library.