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The Devil and Webster

The Devil and Webster Book Cover The Devil and Webster
Jean Hanff Korelitz
Grand Central Publishing
March 21, 2017

Naomi Roth is the first female president of Webster College, a once conservative school now known for producing fired-up, progressive graduates. A former student radical herself, Naomi isn't alarmed when Webster students, including her own daughter, begin an outdoor encampment to protest a popular professor's denial of tenure.

But when Omar Khayal, a charismatic Palestinian student with a devastating personal history, emerges as the group's leader, shocking acts of vandalism begin to destabilize the campus. As the crisis slips beyond her control, Naomi struggles to protect her friends, colleagues, and family from an unknowable adversary. A riveting novel about who we think we are, and what we think we believe.

My review:

I have mixed feelings about this book. The plot was super interesting to me. I was never one to engage in any kind of protests when I was in school, but with what's going on in our country today, I can definitely relate to the concept now. I loved the satirical aspects of this novel, it was slyly (or not) poking fun at elite colleges, and what draws people to them. There was some neat college history thrown in. The rules which prevented the administration from explaining tenure and student admission decisions were as fascinating as they were frustrating, within the novel's framework.  I even really liked Naomi Roth, the main character.

Sounds great right? It was great, to a point, but what I felt this book severely lacked was good editing! There was way too much information thrown out there that I think wasn't entirely necessary for this novel to work. There were run on sentences, even run on paragraphs that made me bleary eyed. I think most of the information could have been edited down so that the reader still got it, but didn't want to yell "let's just get back to the story".

Overall a great story about college life, mostly from an administration perspective, but beware that there is lots of extraneous writing that I wish could have been edited out.

2 thoughts on “The Devil and Webster

    1. ondbookshelf

      I hate to discourage anyone from picking this up. When I was looking through some thoughts from others, there were a few who agreed with me, but many absolutely loved the book. Maybe it was just my mood while reading? Then again, I'm not known to love lots of extraneous information in books that I could do without and still enjoy the plot.


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