Admissions: A Memoir of Surviving Boarding School

Grand Central. Jan. 2022. 304p. ISBN 9781538753484. $29. MEMOIR
An admittedly privileged perspective of attending boarding school as a Black American student, this is James’s coming-of-age story while enrolled at the elite Taft School in Connecticut. Readers won’t find anecdotes of boarding school scandals, drugs, or partying in its pages, but they will become well acquainted with the cultural and societal growth of a young girl obsessed with role playing, instant messaging, Star Trek, and Dogma, who also happens to be the first Black American legacy student to graduate from Taft School. There is no rage or rebellion in these pages; only sincerity and self-awareness. James admits her own naivete and ignorance of code switching, microaggressions, and respectability politics at the beginning of her time at boarding school, but upon graduation realizes many aspects of the Taft School experience for Black students are questionable, problematic, and oftentimes traumatic. James’s reflection on her time at Taft and career as an admissions counselor reveals both the subtle microaggressions and outright racism toward Black students in a predominantly white school.
VERDICT This is a must-read for anyone who felt like their circle of friends was chosen for them or limited to one table in the cafeteria and for anyone who assumes the lives of privileged Black students are devoid of racism.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing