Dear Committee Members

Dear Committee Members

Book - 2014
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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 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.
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, [2014]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780385538138
Characteristics: 180 pages ; 20 cm


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Jul 14, 2019

Fun, funny, forgettable.

Jan 04, 2019

Enjoyed this book although I had to get used to the different format of telling a story. All done through letters. Still a good and funny story.

Jan 02, 2019

A delightful riposte of mundane academia in the form of letters, mostly Letters of Recommendation. I LOL'd at some of the ROL's. Underlying these one sided letters is a bittersweet tale of unrequited love and some tragedy. I am eagerly awaiting the next set of letters.

PimaLib_ChristineR Oct 10, 2018

3.5 ⭐ - The only reason I didn't rate this book more highly is because I think it has a very specific audience. If you've ever worked in academia in the liberal arts, this book will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you nod your head with every painful page. An epistolary novel, Dear Committee Members follows a series of letters written by Jason Fitzger, self-described "Professor/Agitator/Slum Dweller." Being a part of this very specific audience brought back memories, memories of being in an office that hadn't been refurbished since WWII, while the floor above us allowed us to occasionally bask in the meager warmth that filtered through the floor from their carpeted and and tastefully decorated offices.

However, as I dug deeper into the story, these letters to various exes, friends, publishers and the ever present "committee members" revealed not only a man determined to stand up for a department considered superfluous, but also slowly reveals the story of Fitzger himself and his cause: finding funding and a roof for his graduate student Darren Browles. These parts of the story are pieced together slowly but have a more universal appeal. Let he who has not hit "Reply All" on accident inflict the first paper cut. And in the end it becomes a very human story of failure and resiliency. It is not a long read, and so if you are looking for something to while away an afternoon, you could do much worse than Dear Committee Members.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Sep 17, 2018

Super fun one-sided epistolary novel told entirely in academic letters of recommendation. Laugh out loud funny. Probably even funnier to those who work in academia...I’m looking at you SOU faculty!

Jun 07, 2018

Funny and ascerbic.

Oct 23, 2017

A beautiful and funny little tale told entirely in letters - specifically letters of recommendation (lukewarm and passive-agressive) written by a burned-out English professor. His love life is a shambles, his Department is a sinking ship, his career is stalled, and his personality comes out in every tiny word choice or political jab. Oh, and he corrects everyone's grammar, of course. Fitger is a loveable curmudgeon, and feel for the poor denizens of Payne University.

Jun 23, 2016

Clever and funny. Great dry humor

May 18, 2016

There's a bitterly perceptive humour here, but in the end I was tired of the narrator's complaining and his conviction that he knew best.

JCLKariE Apr 23, 2016

Dear Committee Members is smart, snarky, and often laugh-out-loud funny. Cantankerous and eye-rolling inducing Jay Fitger has written over 1,300 letters of recommendation during his career as Professor of Creative Writing and English at Payne University. This novel is written in letter of recommendation format, making for an interesting read because of the way you must piece the story together from Jay’s perspective. This novel could easily lose steam because of the format. However, Schumacher finds the right balance between humor, insight, and weaving an engaging, intelligent story about modern university life.

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May 18, 2016

Allow Malinda the privilege of laboring in your office for nothing (she’ll probably continue to work nights as a barista in the coffee empire), and I am confident you will be making, though perhaps not in the ways you might have intended, a remarkable contribution to her education.

May 18, 2016

Fortunate girl: to behold her ambitions still winking before her like stars.


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