Have you ever been called upon to write a letter of recommendation for a person whose qualifications you are unsure of? This book, which is the epistolary style, is a collection of recommendations letters from a college English professor who does not hesitate to say what he really thinks about the true qualities of the persons for which he is writing the recommendations.
Jay Fitger is a tenured English professor at a small university in the Midwest. His department has been suffering from severe budget cuts, the building in which the department is located is a bio hazard and his love life and personal life are a mess. We find out all of this information about Jay through a series of absolutely hilarious letters of recommendations he is asked to write for students, colleagues and friends.
I have to admit that the epistolary style did take some getting used to. But by the time I was reading the third letter I was laughing out loud and kept finding my husband so I could read the letters to him as well. Jay’s letters contain the brutal truth that we want to write when we are composing a letter, but which most of us have the tact and diplomacy not to include.
Jay also underscores the sad state of humanities in academia today. He believes that his favorite graduate student has some real potential as a writer and several of the letters are on his student’s behalf. His student is reduced to living in poverty and his graduation is threatened by a lack of funding to finish his degree.
Each letter is a masterpiece and Julie Schumacher’s writing is simply brilliant. My only criticism of the book is that I wanted to know more background about the characters. How and why did Jay’s marriage fall apart? Why is there such a rift among the members of Jay’s English Department? DEAR COMMITTEE MEMBERS is a must read for anyone who has been called upon to write a letter of recommendation.
6 responses to “Review: Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher”
The title alone makes me want to read the book.
It’s hilarious, I highly recommend it. It’s also a quick read.
I so want to read this. I’m glad you enjoyed it.
I really did. If you read it, let me know what you think!
This sounds great! Alexander McCall Smith wrote some academic spoofs that I really enjoyed on audio.
Thanks for the suggestion, I will have to check that out. Lucky Jim is also a great academic spoof.