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Dear Committee Members (2014)
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Call Number FICTION/SCHUMACHER,J


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LocationCall NumberItem Status
FictionFICTION/SCHUMACHER,JDue 11-08-18
FictionFICTION/SCHUMACHER,JDue 11-07-18
Published: New York : Doubleday, [2014]
Edition:  [Various editions]
Description:  180 pages ; 20 cm
ISBN/ISSN: 9780385538138 (hbk.), 0385538138 (hbk.), 9780345807335 (pbk.),
Language:  English


"A novel"--Jacket

Also Published: New York Anchor Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, 2015 180 p.

"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 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 ... In short, his life is a tale of woe, and the vehicle this ... novel uses to tell that tale is a series of ... 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"--Amazon.com

Related Searches:
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Added--201408 afic

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A Prickly Character


An incongruous image of a porcupine on the cover of Dear Committee Membershumorously hints at the prickly nature of the main character before the book is even opened.

The story unfolds through correspondence penned entirely by one person, Jason T. Fitger, a Professor of Creative Writing and English at fictional Payne University.  His beloved English Department is being squeezed both financially and by a construction project which puts him at odds with another more favored department in the same building.  A great deal of Fitger’s time is mired in bureaucratic paperwork, politics, and writing endless letters of recommendations for students.  Some are written with such biting honesty that certain requesters will regret asking him to write anything at all, especially when it is required to be done online.

Each letter is tailored to the recipient with varying degrees of Fitger’s unbridled and unfiltered manner of speaking.  The level of praise, ire, disdain, explanation or pleading is dependent on how much he cares about that particular topic. His professional and personal lives are intertwined and, oblivious to decorum, he often reveals too much to the wrong people through what he writes.

Fitger is a bit prone to gossip, perhaps a little naïve, selfish yet likeable, articulate yet socially dense, and passionate. I found the way in which author Julie Schumacher presented these elements of his personality very entertaining.  I think the book is a tribute to epistolary and imaginative writing.

And, yes, I had to read the story with a dictionary close at hand.
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