The Summer Read That Predicted the College-Admissions Scandal

Fleming Smith:

Since you spent so much time in this fictional world, how did you feel when you heard about parents acting the same way in the admissions scandal?

One of my initial worries was, oh no; I wanted people to think that the stuff the parents were doing in “The Gifted School” was so crazy and outrageous it couldn’t possibly be plausible. I wanted the novel to have a real satirical edge, so a little bit of me worries that the admissions scandal blunts that a bit.

What do you think people will learn from the admissions scandal and the ideas you’ve explored in your book?

If you think of the college admissions scandal as one of the great cultural parables of our time, I think it can teach us a lot. The novel hopefully will inspire people to look at themselves, at the culture of elitism and privilege, in somewhat more critical ways.

Maybe the novel will be read as a parable in its own way for thinking about issues of economic status and privilege and privilege-hoarding as they affect the lives of many different people in different communities.