Dear Committee Members

by Julie Schumacher

Rating: ★★★★

A breezy and very amusing satire of academic life, delivered through the medium of letters of recommendation extracted from the dutiful and truthful pen of Jason Fitger, an (American) English Professor struggling with the chaotic remnants of an affair, a complete abandonment of the arts, and a construction-site office. His peers are either insane or being driven out, his students range from the braindead to the brilliant, and nobody seems to pay the slightest bit of attention to him except to ask him to submit recommendation letters, often for people he has never met.

The letters are unreserved, filled with rants and digressions that seethe wittily on the page. Several lines had me laughing aloud. The issues that plague Fitger are all too familiar, and it is easy to enjoy his flippant comment on an unabashed plagiarist, students he has never taught, and faculty from other departments too small to meet bureaucratic demands internally. Schumacher clearly knows her material from experience -- I hope the writing was cathartic