Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Jason Fitger is a beleaguered professor of creative writing and literature at Payne University, a small and not very distinguished liberal arts college in the midwest. His department is facing draconian cuts and squalid quarters, while one floor above them the Economics Department is getting lavishly remodeled offices. His once-promising writing career is in the doldrums, as is his romantic life, in part as the result of his unwise use of his private affairs for his novels. His star (he thinks) student can't catch a break with his brilliant (he thinks) work Accountant in a Bordello, based on Melville's Bartleby. In short, his life is a tale of woe, and the vehicle this droll and inventive novel uses to tell that tale is a series of hilarious letters of recommendation that Fitger is endlessly called upon by his students and colleagues to produce, each one of which is a small masterpiece of high dudgeon, low spirits, and passive-aggressive strategies. We recommend Dear Committee Members to you in the strongest possible terms.
This short novel is written entirely in a series of letters by Jason Fitger, a Professor of English and Creative writing at Payne University in America.
I really love books that have this format, either in letter or email form, they somehow seem more interesting to read, almost because you know you shouldn't be reading someone else's letters/emails. Through these letters the reader learns that the building is being redesigned, they have leaky windows, and dust is flying from the building works. A lot of the staff have already left and you are almost left to pity the staff that haven't left yet.
These letters really paint a picture of Jason, divorced, his own writing career has failed or well never really got off the ground, he is grumpy and doesn't like modern day technology. One he particularly hates is the online form of media and forums. He seems to be rarely talking to his friends and seems to have driven most of them away.
These are humors through the way they are told and sad at the same time, I love the fact that they are told through letters as this seems to be something that is dying out. I don't want to say too much about the book as it is quite short and you would be able to read this rather quickly.
Although I did really enjoy the book, it was at times hard to keep reading one letter after the other, it may have been better to read a few letters at a time and then come back to the book. This is just my own personal opinion on the book and the reason I only rate it 4 out of 5 *. At times I did find it a little bit heavy in this format all at once. Saying that if I had read a few letters at a time and returned to the book, I may have enjoyed it even more.
I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.