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Jane Austen in Scarsdale: Or Love, Death, and the SATs


Jane Austen in Scarsdale: Or Love, Death, and the SATs Cover



Reading Group Guide

Reading Group Questions

1. Discuss whether the book is a realistic rendering of the college admissions process or a farcical exaggeration (this may well depend upon your own experiences with the process).

2. To what extent does the book achieve a balance between poking fun at the parents and treating them with understanding and sympathy?

3. How do you personally account for the kind of excesses that the book describes? Is it a matter of a particular community (an affluent suburb like Scarsdale) or of a larger social trend in


4. Do you understand why Anne gave up Ben at her grandmothers urging when she was twenty- one? Does this seem realistic to you or does it make you think less of Anne?

5. What is your opinion of Winnie? Do you think she genuinely changes in the course of the novel?

6. Do you believe in the idea that there is one

person who is right for us in life and that if

we miss our chance to connect with that

person, we lose something invaluable and


7. The novel is loosely modeled on Jane Austens Persuasion. Anne is overly persuaded to give up Ben when she was young. How does this theme of over-persuasion fit with the students she deals with in her capacity as guidance counselor? Discuss the degree to which the parents in the novel see their children as accessories: signs of status and upward mobility.

8. Discuss the degree to which the frenzy over college admission is a genuine expression of the love, concern, and fear that parents have about their children. Do you feel that parents are now more fearful than they used to be about their childrens future? If so, why?

9. If you have read Austens Persuasion, discuss the likenesses and similarities between its plot and the story of this novel. Why do you think the author chose to diverge where she did?

10. Some people have said that the book, while poking fun at the college admissions process, also supplies some helpful tips on what to do in guiding ones childs application process. Discuss some of these tips.

11. Where does helpful coaching end and immoral manipulation begin in helping students present the best possible profile to a college?

12. Do you believe that early admission and early action should be discontinued?

13. Discuss the sample college essays that are given in the book and say why they are amusing (if you find them so). How do you think Anne will handle the college admissions process when (or if) she has children of her own?

Product Details

Or Love, Death, and the SATs
Cohen, Paula Marantz
St. Martin's Griffin
Student counselors
Romance - General
General Fiction
Scarsdale (N.Y.)
Romance - Contemporary
Publication Date:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
8.5 x 5.5 x 0.682 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Romance » Contemporary

Jane Austen in Scarsdale: Or Love, Death, and the SATs Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$3.50 In Stock
Product details 304 pages St. Martin's Press - English 9780312325022 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Cohen tackled a Jane Austen plot once before, in Jane Austen in Boca (2003). In this novel, she pays witty homage to Persuasion — with a twist that wrings modern meaning out of the word — as she explores the lengths to which a high school guidance counselor goes to get her privileged students into college. Head of guidance at Fenimore High, Anne Ehrlich is knee-deep in worried students, demanding parents and the politics of college admissions when her old flame Ben Cutler returns to Scarsdale and enrolls his nephew in Fenimore. Anne's beloved granny — the only trustworthy relative in her family of self-centered social climbers — talked Anne into dumping Ben 13 years before, when he was a travel agency peon. Since then, he's become a successful travel writer and hooked a beautiful, worldly fiancée. Pulled back into Ben's orbit by his college-bound nephew, Anne can't hide from her long-suppressed feelings anymore — but she'll try her best by getting involved with grieving poet Peter Jacobson. Endearing and fun, this narrative will ring true for anyone who's had a peek into the madness of college admissions, as well as anyone who's been unlucky in love." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Cohen's novel is part witty satire...and part love story, guaranteeing Austenites and lovers of romantic comedy in general will cotton to this charming modernization of one of Austen's best novels."
"Review" by , "[A] fulfilling read. Sure to be popular with Cohen's many readers as well as Jane Austen fans. Recommended..."
"Review" by , "Cohen offers astute social commentary on the college admissions process....but the characters lack wit; they're more often pathetic or mean than funny."
"Review" by , "For every frazzled student applying to college, for all anxious parents trying to get a student into college, for all teachers besieged by requests for higher grades and glowing letters of recommendation, this book is for you. I am persuaded that Cohen, like Jane Austen, knows how to work things out for her heroine — neatly and satisfactorily. I loved it."
"Review" by , "Paula Marantz Cohen has done it again! Jane Austen in Scarsdale is laugh-out-loud funny, literate, wise — and best of all, a satirical mirror of our times. She has become our own Jane Austen."
"Synopsis" by , The bestselling author of Jane Austen in Boca now offers a witty take on Austen's Persuasion in this story about a guidance counselor who is reunited with the love of her life — the poor boy her wealthy family persuaded her to give up 13 years before.
"Synopsis" by ,
"For every frazzled student applying to college, for all anxious parents trying to get a student into college, for all teachers besieged by requests for higher grades and glowing letters of recommendation, this book is for you. I am persuaded that Cohen, like Jane Austen, knows how to work things out for her heroine--neatly and satisfactorily. I loved it."---Ann B. Ross, author of Miss Julia's School of Beauty

"Synopsis" by ,
Anne Ehrlich is a dedicated guidance counselor steering her high-school charges through the perils of college admission. Thirteen years ago, when she was graduating from Columbia University, her wealthy family---especially her dear grandmother Winnie---persuaded her to give up the love of her life, Ben Cutler, a penniless boy from Queens College. Anne has never married and hasn't seen Ben since---until his nephew turns up in her high school and starts applying to college.

Now Ben is a successful writer, a world traveler, and a soon-to-be married man; and Winnie's health is beginning to fail. All of these changes have Anne beginning to wonder...Can old love be rekindled, or are past mistakes too painful to forget?

With all the wit and perceptiveness of Jane Austen's Persuasion, Jane Austen in Scarsdale is a fresh and romantic new comedy from a novelist with "a knack for making modern life reflect literature in the most engaging manner" (Library Journal).

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