- Title: Dear Committee Members
- Author: Julie Schumacher
- ISBN: 9780345807335
- Page: 325
- Format: Paperback
Finally a novel that puts the pissed back into epistolary 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 oFinally a novel that puts the pissed back into epistolary 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.
Recent Comments "Dear Committee Members"
this is an like epistolary version of Lucky Jim, in which a jovial but pompous and generally unlikeable blowhard of an english professor bloviates and alienates his way through a series of letters of recommendation, straying from the task at hand to insert his own unrelated gripes and personal attacks, destroying bridges he has already burned, while somehow, admirably, also providing a narrative arc's just a little wisp of a novel, but anyone who has spent any time at all in the halls of academi [...]
Dear friend,I am writing to highly recommend that you read Dear Committee Members, especially if you have a propensity to enjoy sardonic academic satires written in the form of LORs (letters of reference) written by a cantankerous professor of English literature who has a tendency to irk many colleagues and former spouses, has an endless supply of pet peeves, but nevertheless cares for a handful of his more talented students and colleagues and has many valid -- albeit overwrought -- observation [...]
Anyone who has spent time in academia will get a chuckle out of this book. It's a collection of letters from a disgruntled English professor at a small college. Most of the missives are Letters of Recommendation for students, but there are also emails and memos to colleagues. The novel, written by a woman who is a writing professor at the University of Minnesota, smartly touches on a lot of the current problems in higher education, including its overreliance on part-time instructors instead of f [...]
Dear Author,It is with deeply felt regret that I have to tell you that I can't recommend your book to the wider community, despite the fact that I really liked it. It even made me laugh out loud many times, serving as a perfect digression from some heavy reading that I had to digest this weekend. Why, you might rightly ask, dear Author, will I then not do you the favour to write something nice about it? Something about the hilarious idea to reinvent the epistolary genre with a funny collection [...]
Of course there is a serious commentary on the state of academic affairs here especially of English and Creative Writing Departments, but this book was extremely funny and I loved it . I don't mean to diminish the serious underlying message but I laughed out loud . Jay Fitger , Professor of Creative Writing and English at Payne University seems to spend a good part of his day writing letters of recommendation for students and former students for jobs, graduate school or literary residence progra [...]
Ms. Nan A. TaleseDoubleday Publishing1745 BroadwayNew York, NY 10019Dear Ms. Talese:I saw online that you were the contact person for Doubleday Publishing and that manuscripts must be submitted by agents because you do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.Well, relax Nan, that isn’t why I am contacting you. No, I have several other reasons I would like to tell you about:• I became aware of the book Dear Committee Members when several of my respected friends gave it good reviews on . I also lik [...]
This is a very funny and also a very smart look at the contemporary world of academia as seen through the endless numbers of letters of recommendation written by Jason T. Fitger, a professor of Creative Writing and English at the fictional Payne University, which is located somewhere in the Midwest. Like so many other disciplines in the Humanities, Fitger's English department appears to be under siege. Its budget has been slashed; full-time tenured faculty are being forced out in favor of part-t [...]
An entire novel written in the form of passive-aggressive recommendation letters sounds like the kind of gimmick that would get old really quick - especially with such a whisper-thin plot. But if you have a weakness for witty, self-destructive English professors who can effortlessly reduce someone to the size of a Tic Tac in six words or less, you will probably be thoroughly entertained for at least 80% of it.
The novel is a series of letters, recommendations and posts from a Professor of English and Creative writing at Payne University. Form these posts we learn of the Professors frustration at the state of the building where his office is as well as that of this whole program in general. Of the impeding death of creative writing or writing actual books and his impulsive personal life.Extremely witty, tongue-in-cheek humor, sarcasm and ironic, the author deftly presents her story in an unusual form. [...]
Let me begin my review of this novel about the lovable eccentricities of academia by providing an anecdote about a lovably eccentric academic I once knew. A favorite English professor of mine was constantly in a delightfully manic state of enthusiasm about every scrap of literature ever written, each scrap of which he had personally read. He was so overwhelmed with appreciation for every syllable ever put to paper by humankind and had a keen sense of reverence for the critical role any given sub [...]
HILARIOUS AND GENTLE PARODY OF ACADEMEThanks to Esil for reviewing this very funny sendup of academic life. Otherwise I’d never have found this hidden gem.The book is a fictional collection of “LOR”s (letters of recommendation) penned by one Jason “Jay” Fitger, a frustrated and aging Professor of Creative Writing at the aptly named Payne University. Fitger seems to spend most of his time writing these letters to universities, companies, literary agents, etc. to help various students an [...]
Jason Fitger is a middle-aged professor of English and creative writing at Payne University, a middling liberal arts college somewhere in the American Midwest. That was a lot of “mids” for one sentence. Rest assured, though: there is nothing average about Schumacher’s second novel. Told entirely through the irascible Fitger’s letters of recommendation for his colleagues and students, it is a delightful epistolary. Fitger’s barbed comments and garrulousness will keep you laughing. Schum [...]
This book is a cruel trick and made me cry. Academia is cruel. Writing is cruel. Mediocrity crueler still. Suicide the cruelest of all.This was recommended to me by someone else in academia. This person described it as "incredibly funny," which it was right up until it also turned out to be about an MFA graduate student who commits suicide because he's poor and he's worried that his work is mediocre. Perhaps this seemed funnier to the person who recommended it, because he has never been a poor, [...]
You know, it has been a while since I've read a supposedly funny book that actually turns out to be funny, but Julie Schumacher's Dear Committee Members was great fun. I even laughed out loud in a few spots, and I don't think it's entirely because I was picturing the book as if it were read by a committee member of mine, who tends to write with the same verbose style as Schumacher's narrator.Jason Fitger is a weary professor of creative writing and literature at Payne University. He was once a w [...]
3.5 stars. I may have found this funnier than the average reader - I grew up around English departments, which are strange places.
Hilarious! The novel comprises the recommendation letters (for worthy or less-than-worthy students) of one weary professor of creative writing and English at Payne University—pun intended. Professor Jason Fitger is twice divorced and sometimes has to direct his letters to his ex-wives or ex-lover. Not only is the novel funny, but it is moving. Fitger becomes more and more real; you can feel not only his disgust at his department (which he compares to the Titanic), at himself and his hopeless s [...]
This is a short, epistolary novel, consisting of a range of letters and emails sent from Jason (Jay) Figer, a Professor of Creative Writing and English at Payne University. Figer, we soon learn, is beleaguered in a building and a department which is less than perfect. The upper floors are being redesigned for the Economics department, while the English department suffers a lack of funding, dust from the building works, leaky windows and general dissatisfaction with their lot. More than once, Fig [...]
I thought about writing my review of Dear Committee Members as a letter, but realized I’m not nearly so clever or funny as Jason Fitger, the cantankerous hero of this epistolary novel by Julie Schumacher.Sure Professor Fitger is cranky but with good reason. Several good reasons. It’s not easy to be an English and Creative Writing professor in this day and age. So he feels like a dying breed in a vocation under attack by those would happily dispose of arts and humanities. Not to mention releg [...]
My ThoughtsThis story is told through a series of letters written by Professor Jason Fitger.I laughed so hard reading this that my stomach hurt and I had tears rolling down my face. Professor Fitger’s writes eloquently worded letters that are delightfully witty, frequently snarky and filled with cynicism. While set in the world of academia, anyone who has had to send politically correct emails or letters should get a kick out of Professor Fitger’s ability to say just exactly what he is think [...]
Jason Fitger is a professor of English and creative writing at Payne University, a small institution in the American Midwest. We come to know him through his correspondence--mostly letters of recommendations (LORs) for students and colleagues seeking prizes, graduate teaching positions, and, indeed, jobs of all kinds. His letters are pithy, cogent, droll, and sneakily subversive. The humor builds through the novel and never becomes old. The surprising thing is how well we come to know Fitger, ho [...]
I spent about an hour with this book and that was WAY more time than it deserved. And here I'd heard such good things about it. And me and academic, too. Oh well. (I won't put it in the category "didn't finish" because I did leaf through the whole thing.) The book is made up of a series of letters from our hero (?) to a variety of recipients. He's a professor of English. He's recommending people for various jobs, fellowships, etc. The first one/two letters are rather entertaining, but I don't se [...]
What the hell just happened? I picked this book off a dusty library shelf after exhausting all efforts to acquire one of my - To Be Read - titles growing like weeds on my list. It's hilarious. What a wonderfully quirky little novel full of sarcastic babbling of a burnt out Professor of Creative Writing and English. Did I mention he is also a published novelist who's creative juices have been squeezed so completely he is left to opine with absurdity and overt honesty within-Recommendations? If t [...]
So very funny, so very true, so very poignant - I laughed my way through this book of letters by English Professor Jay Fitzger. Prof. Fitzger is not, at first, a character to admire, but as I continued to read (and wish I were brave enough to write some of the truths he does), I saw the caring and concerned teacher and friend underneath the bitter and frequently inappropriate facade. If you love language, read this book. Prof. Fitzger is eloquent.
Recommended to me by a member of my university's English department, it would be hard not to find some similarities between the department woefully underfunded and unsupported in this novel and at any liberal arts institution in the United States. Or maybe any academic institution, but the detail of having a department chair from outside the department? Let's just say that felt awfully familiar. Told completely in an epistolary form by a fed-up tenured member of the department, most letters are [...]
Jason Fitger, a professor of creative writing and literature at a small college, writes the most entertaining letters of recommendation that I have ever read. I doubt ANYONE gets a job based on his letters, but that probably encourages him. He uses his letter writing to say what he wants about his exes, his employer, other writers, people he once knew and the unfortunate person asking for the recommendation. It is funny and easy to read as the book is only his letters in order over a year. Thoug [...]
I loved this novel - I laughed out loud at several parts, and enjoyed following Jay's logic, agendas and his own growth as he uses his pen as his sword for the good of the students and his friends. I think anyone who spent several years in a liberal arts department will certainly find this a compelling read. I'm very thankful to the people at Doubleday who sent me the book to enjoy!
Funny. Sometimes poignant. An all-to-realistic portrayal of the petty rivalries in academia.
I grabbed an ARC of this at ALA Annual 2014 (thanks, Doubleday!) It looked like a light, fun read, and since I've spent most of my career in academe, I can relate to the crazy-making politics of it. I expected to enjoy seeing some fun poked at the modern university, and to enjoy the novel (if slightly gimmicky) medium of writing a story in the format of recommendation letters.This book is all that, but it also surprised me with its continuing through-line of sadness and anger. Our protagonist, J [...]
I absolutely LOVED this scathing, sarcastic, hilarious epistolary novel told in a series of recommendation letters from a curmudgeonly, disillusioned English professor at a second-tier university. Having written numerous recommendation letters myself, I can relate to the technological issues of online recommendation systems; the inane request to rate applicants as the top 10%, 5%, 1%, or 0.0001%; and the desire to be transparently honest in giving good recommendations to people I just want to st [...]
Hilarious; with some pointed observations on academia . But a fun, quick read.Needed a break from "Beethoven"--and this is perfect. The conceit is entirely epistolary; letters of recommendation from a creative writing prof. Yet it's a novel, and the narrator has an almost Russian purity and California obtuseness. It already has, and gets him into, deeper trouble. Readers' reactions will, I think, depend in part on whether they've ever been academics, or known someone who has. "Dear C.R. Young,Ms [...]
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