Sunday, June 13, 2010

Winner of This Novel is......

Winner of this novel is stephaniet117

To continue my clutter clearing campaign to get rid of my thousands plus books that are literally taking over my home, I'm giving away this book to one of my blog's followers. On June 11, 2010, a winner will be randomly picked and will be announced here on this blog. To have a chance to win this book, please do the following:
  1. Be a follower of my blog.
  2. Have a U.S. mailing address
  3. Post a comment on this post to express your desire to participate in this giveaway
Hopefully, I will get rid of all my books pretty soon. I do have separation anxiety with all my books (this is only the 6th book I'm giving away.... at least I'm making a tiny progress....), but I've got to start parting with them, or I won't even have room to sleep in... So follow my blog to be informed of my latest book giveaway.

This book is given to me for a review but unfortunately, the topic of this book is not my cup of tea. Coming from Hong Kong where " competitive exams" were a way of life for any kid, I couldn't relate to this book. I had no idea what Advanced Placement Exams this book was talking about but then my Ivy League educated husband told me they were not as difficult as the exit exams I had taken in Hong Kong.

Besides our own highschool exit exams, we had to take standardized exams administered by the education department in Hong Kong, which was on every subject we ever took in highschool, all comprehensive. The government administered standardized exams were relied on by colleges to determine whether a student had achieved the high school graduate standard to be even regarded as a high school graduate. A third round of exams I sat was GCEs (standardized British exam papers that were used to determine a college applicant's eligibility for admission in the U.K. college system). I remember in May and June of my 11th grade in highschool, I was taking exams everyday literally... one round after another on subjects like, Biology, Physics, World History, Economics, Math, Human Biology, Chemistry, Geography, English Literature, Chinese Literature, Chinese History, Chinese Geography... We never heard anyone took exam on Physical Ed, or Cereamics, or Home Economics cause these are subjects that are considered to be jokes for us and no college would care for these even you get an A++ on them. And in the 12th grade, I took more rounds of these comprehensive exams on advanced level... one to exit our own highschool, one to get the advanced level certificates from the Hong Kong government, one for the advanced level GCEs in the UK system... And then also rounds of admission exams in each university. At least the unviersities here in the U.S. don't make the eligible applicants sit for an admission exam on top of whatever is required of them to send in with the applications. There was pressure but I never took it like the way the characters took it in this book. To me, it was just everyday life and of course I wish I could watch TV instead, but it was more like a chore I had to do and that had always been in my life where there was no avoidance of it. I never talked much about my exams or college plans with my friends... We just kind of did our own things and waited to see what would happen. Our backup plan was always to go study abroad in the U.S. or the U.K. if we couldn't secure a college spot in Hong Kong. To us. admissions to U.S. colleges are pieces of cakes....Our parents always told us, "if you can't get into college, there is always America...." To us, the SAT paper here is a joke... We can't understand why it was such a big deal and it reqired even a prep course. They are all multiple choices and the answers are all in the materials you read on the SAT paper anyway....As for the Math, even an elementary school kid in Hong Kong can do it...

I don't relate all this stress about taking SAT since it's not a knowledge specific exam that requires memory or command of anything one learns from highschool.... I can't really understand the pressure. The charcters in the book were too bubbly...and childish to me... I don't recall myself and my peers behaving this way when we were teenagers. Our parents emphasized on education, but they had no clue what exam we needed or what college we should go. They knew they wanted us to go to college, but which one, they had no idea.. They told us they would pay and they wanted us to go to college. Our parents were never much involved other than the daily nagging, "Are you getting good grades in all these exams? Your only option after highschool is college, any other option is unacceptable to us. It's your job to get into college.... If you want to kill your own parents with heart attacks and strokes, then don't get good grades.... this will be a more effective way to kill us than giving us poison........" So, between our parents' health and death and studying hard, we chose the latter.

I don't know, after reading a hundred pages of this book about all the whining, complaining and the unnecessary worries from the characters, (in my opinion those worries are totally not necessary here in the U.S. cause unlike in Hong Kong, college education doesn't dictate one's future success here) , the characters just gave me a feeling of a whole bunch of "crying babies", be them the parents, or the students themselves... It just didn't arouse enough interest in me to continue reading. Not inspiring enough for me to keep reading.

This book just couldn't hold my attention, whether it's the dialogue, or the plots. I personally wouldn't publish it if I were the publisher, but since I'm one foreigner living in America, what do I know about the best selling fictions in this market. May be a lot of people will like this book. I have no choice but to give it up cause I don't see myself spending more of my precious time finishing it.

About this book and the author of this book:

Karen Stabiner writes about the college admissions frenzy in a surprisingly comedic fashion, with an insider's eye: She went through the process with her own daughter and used her experience as a journalist to uncover what was really going on.

GETTING IN is a delightfully smart comedy of class and entitlement, of love and ambition, set in a world where a fat envelope from a top school matters more than anything – almost. The President of the National Association of Independent Schools, Patrick Bassett, deems GETTING IN “a humorous (in a wry kind of way) but pointed and surprisingly engaging novel about parental and teen obsessiveness regarding the college application process in independent schools and the debilitating, distorting impact of it on kids and families. A must-read for college-prep kids and their parents.”

A respected journalist and author of “The College Insider” blog for The Huffington Post, Stabiner is no stranger to writing about families in transition. Her previous nonfiction books on the subject include THE EMPTY NEST and RECLAIMING OUR DAUGHTERS: What Parenting a Tween Taught Me About Real Girls (formerly titled MY GIRL).


StephTheBookworm said...

I'd really be interested in reading this! I remember all that stress and the AP tests ugh! lol. I'm a follower. Thanks!

stephaniet117 at yahoo dot com

Laura said...

Please enter me. I am a follower.

Elise said...

I'm a follower. I'd like to enter.
caliblue7 at gmail dot com

Steve Capell said...

I haven’t read any of this author’s books, but your review sounds like a book that I would take pleasure in reading.

Thanks you so much for hosting this giveaway.


Alexandra said...

I'm a follower and I would like to enter!!

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