Updated, 1:30 p.m. June 24
Moira’s Seattle Times Book Club held its ninth meeting earlier today, discussing Julie Schumacher’s satirical novel-in-letters “Dear Committee Members,” in which a beleaguered English professor communicates his tale of woe through letters of recommendation. Scroll down to the comments section to read the discussion; here are a few excerpts from it:
I would recommend this book. Although Jason was snarky and self absorbed, it was funny and not hateful. And occasionally you would see a crack in his self absorption and feel like he must have some redeeming qualities. — TeaDrinker
I don’t think I liked the book as well as others here did. I definitely thought the writing was witty and there were some LOL moments but, after a while, I got tired of the snarkiness. I’m sure a lot has to do with the state of things right now but if it wasn’t such a short book and if it weren’t for this discussion, I probably wouldn’t have continued reading it. — pnledlund
I was an English prof for over 30 years (and in two universities), and lots in this book is dead-on–even the run-down building and construction. In my experience though, the creative writing branches of the department fared better than the comp or lit folks. — candyg
I liked the form a lot, and found the book extremely humorous! The author is so gifted at portraying all the complexities of Jason’s character. He is narcissistic, frustrated, spurned, and also, through the whole book, compassionate..and passionate…with regard to his students. He ultimately failed to draw the attention to Darren that he so desperately needed, however, which turned this lighthearted book into something much deeper. — JeanneBee
I laughed myself silly! It was a perfect read during my time of quarantine! — islandrman
Ready for a little comedy? Clearly the members of Moira’s Seattle Times Book Club think so — they’ve just voted “Dear Committee Members,” by Julie Schumacher, as our latest selection (by a wide margin).
Schumacher’s 2014 novel, for which she won the Thurber Prize for American Humor, is set in the English department of a fairly dysfunctional Midwestern liberal arts college, appropriately named Payne University. The book is structured as a series of letters of recommendation written by beleaguered professor Jason Fitger, for whom life is a series of trials. Bonus: It will fill your “epistolary” square if you’re playing Seattle Public Library and Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Summer Book Bingo.
Bookmark this page: We’ll be meeting here at noon on Wednesday, June 24, for an online discussion of the novel. Let me know if you have any questions, and happy reading!
The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.