I want to recommend the funniest book you will read all year. Dear Committee Members is comprised of letters imagined by author Julie Schumacher. Before you begin reading this book, I highly recommend not doing so while drinking any beverage because you may find yourself laughing out loud causing a huge liquid mess.
In this novel you’ll get to meet curmudgeonly Professor of Creative Writing and English, Jason T. Fitger, a man everybody loves to hate and after reading a few of his letters it’s easy to see why. The good thing is is he truly loves the written word and wants the world to be a lot book smarter. He spends his days writing letters of recommendation for past student who were either dimwits or actually had something to offer to the literary world. He also writes hysterical letters describing how the English department is being treated like a poor cousin to the Economics department which gets whatever it wants. Jason also is trying to get a student who he thinks is a brilliant writer with an absurd book title get a position at another school which ends up turning into a comic tragedy. You’ll also be privy to letters to his ex-wife, agent and other assorted people who he has ticked off over the years.
While reading this book you truly feel you are eavesdropping in Jason’s office as he writes these letters. You also wonder if Ms. Schumacher is Jason T. Fitger. She has pulled off a writing feat in that you the reader never want to stop turning the pages and never feel guilty in eavesdropping in someone’s sordid life. The only sad part is that the novel is under 200 pages and you just hope that the author has a sequel in mind because I could read Jason’s letters by the truckload.
The author of Dear Committee Member is a professor of writing at a university so you have to wonder did she write this book to get back at people in her school who frustrated her or is it someone she knows. After reading this book I pity her poor students who aren’t up to being the best they can be as writers ( I, for one, would not want her to make fun of me!).
People complain that the world of letters is dying. The publishing world spends millions on celebrity autobiographies or books about how to find the perfect man. Maybe Ms. Schumacher is saying she’s had enough of the dumbing down our culture and wants people to wake up and read a good book. I couldn’t agree more. Read Dear Committee Members and the world will be on it’s way in showing that great writers still exist and actually have something important to say.