Friday, January 16, 2015

Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher

Week 2: A Funny Book

I had to go back through my facebook feed to find out where I first came across this book. A reader friend whose taste seems to mirror my own recommended this epistolary novel.  I don't tend to like epistolary tales--they always feel very contrived, but this was an unusual premise.

The main character, English Professor, Jason Fitger writes letters of recommendation to his colleagues and contemporaries on behalf of his students and colleagues.  Through his letters we see the failings of his department, his institution, his students, and his life.

I work in an academic department and one complaint I hear frequently from faculty is how much time they put into writing letters of recommendation. This all rang very true for me, so true in fact, that what was supposed to be a highly satirical novel felt a little too close to home. It was short, sweet, rather sad and yes, very funny.  I recommend this all my wise and seasoned faculty friends. You'll see a bit of yourself and find things you wish you could say about students.

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