Mar 16, 2015

Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher


 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.


I received a review copy from Madeline Toy.

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Jason Fitger has to write a lot of letters of recommendation for both his students and colleagues. He's a professor of creative writing and literature who once had a great literary career. Jason Fitger doesn't only write about the people he's recommending in his letters, he also describes his personal life and everything that is happening to him with the people he's offended and his troubled love life.

Jason Fitger doesn't write the average letter of recommendation. Each of his letters has been very well written and is a literary masterpiece. Unfortunately his letters won't save his career. He also isn't able to find a placement for his protégé. His love life is non-existent after he's written about his affair in one of his novels and now he misses his wife who won't be coming back to him.

Jason Fitger's letters are hilarious. He's messed things up for himself pretty badly, but he just can't keep his mouth shut. He's too honest and doesn't really do the candidates much justice most of the time. Even though most of his letters don't have any success he keeps being asked and he keeps writing them. I had to laugh so hard about his opinions and his stumbles while reading this book. It's amazing. It's so well written and it's not only very entertaining, the style and the idea behind this novel are really great. This is one of those rare literary gems that I think everyone should read. 

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