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Dear Committee Members: A novel Kindle Edition

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Length: 193 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews


A New York Times Bestseller 'Hilarious. Schumacher brilliantly uses the epistolary form to show Jay's desperation in the face of his crumbling university, career, life.' New York Times 'Witty. Schumacher manipulates the epistolary genre to great effect.' Independent 'I love this novel ... Very funny and clever.' Viv Groskop, Red Magazine 'The art of writing letters is slowly disappearing, but Julie Schumacher's hilarious, heart-warming and, at times, sad, novel Dear Committee Members is a perfect illustration of the power of words written in ink on paper. Epistolary novels are difficult to pull off, but Schumacher succeeds, putting together a novel through which the voice and character of the protagonist shine through in every funny, painful, cringe-worthy and heartbreaking letter.' Sarah Shaffi, The Bookseller 'A smart-as-hell, fun-as-heck novel composed entirely of recommendation letters.' Newsweek 'Bitterly hilarious ... I urgently recommend this novel.' Wall Street Journal 'A funny and lacerating novel of academia written in the form of letters of recommendation.' Slate

About the Author

JULIE SCHUMACHER grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, and graduated from Oberlin College and Cornell University. Her first novel, The Body Is Water, was published by Soho Press in 1995 and was an ALA Notable Book of the Year and a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award and the Minnesota Book Award. Her other books include a short story collection, An Explanation for Chaos, and five books for younger readers. She lives in St. Paul and is a faculty member in the Creative Writing Program and the Department of English at the University of Minnesota. Visit her on the web at

Product Details

  • File Size: 3088 KB
  • Print Length: 193 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (August 19, 2014)
  • Publication Date: August 19, 2014
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,882 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 45 people found the following review helpful By D. Sorel VINE VOICE on May 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I adore this book. There, I said it! I am an assistant dean at a small college that caters to the technology departments. I am not in one of those departments. I am in General Education where I teach the (lesser desired) English and Humanities. So much of this rang true for me! In fact, I brought it to work and read aloud sections to our faculty and the Dean (both of whom ADORED it and pre-ordered their own copies).

As I am certain you've read before, this book is a collection of letters written by a grouchy English/Creative Writing Professor at Payne University (the irony is not lost on him). Most of the letters of recommendations for students who wish to get jobs, continue their education, or land themselves in the same academic quagmire as the author of the letters has. Through these short pieces, we get a glimpse into Jay's life inside and outside of the college. We come to understand how he became the cantankerous man he is today. Even more importantly, we grow to feel a kind of compassion for his lack of power in a field that is supposed to be all-powerful (we're educating young minds here!).

For those you in academia, you will be dumbstruck with how right on this book is. Originally, I thought that I was the only one who had these kinds of dark thoughts and ideas. But this book was a great solace to me. Additionally, it's hilarious! Jay has a fantastic vocabulary that had me looking up words left and right. Not to mention a great sense of humor, and spot-on observations. At only 200 pages, this book packs an enormous punch. I finished it in one sitting and immediately went back and re-read it (that never happens). I cannot say enough about this book!
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88 of 104 people found the following review helpful By choiceweb0pen0 VINE VOICE on June 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Dear Amazon Customer,

I’ve been asked to recommend Julie Schumacher’s novella Dear Committee Members for Amazon and while I’ve never met Julie in real life, her biography on the back cover of my ARC suggests she is a talented writer who has no doubt sat through many dull committee meetings and more importantly been begged, cajoled, and otherwise moved to write recommendation letters for her students, colleagues, and anyone else who stumbled into her office, emailed, called, and otherwise interrupted her valuable and overcommitted schedule.

It’s true that in Academia much weight is still placed on letters, even letters that often read like the writer changed a few words and names in an old Word file before stuffing a letter into a provided SASE. Far be it from me though, on my yellowing graduate student office computer, that has been handed down through the ranks like a much older sibling’s winter jacket, tempt the system that can at a moment’s notice rear its ugly, bearlike head, swiping my pasty white skin with sharp claws, like a group of graduate students at table of food and drinks at a department reception.

In short because I can feel your impatient eyes beg for me to get to the point, Dear Committee Members makes perfect use of the longest of novel forms, the epistolary novel, which you would know if you had paid more attention in the History of the Novel class I TAed for last fall. Didn’t think I would remember you? Sigh, I get that a lot. Well if the whole Pre-Med thing doesn’t work out, just know I’d be happy to write you a letter for that job at The Home Depot until you figure things out.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Wanda B. Red VINE VOICE on September 1, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I became aware of this book from a review in "The Chronicle of Higher Education," which recommended it, but with the warnings that (a) the main character is a cliché, drawn from countless academic novels, of the cranky male dinosaur prof with women troubles; and (b) the novel's satire is unsupported by a meaningful vision for academe, its jokes cheapened by not being at the service of a deeper purpose.

Neither of these criticisms fit my experience of this book, which chronicles a year in the life of English professor Jason Fitger through his correspondence, mostly letters of recommendations (LORs, as he refers to them). Indeed our hero is a type, recognizable both from literature and from life, of the cantankerous, retrograde English prof who clings to his oldfangled ways even as they plunge him into certain obsolescence. But those of us who have struggled with the online forms on which LORs must currently be submitted will find a freshness to the predicaments described here: e.g., to the way that Fitger's answers to the cookie-cutter questions are cut off by the forms, to his refusal to check the boxes that require him to rank students by percentages, and ultimately to his insistence on sending them via "the picturesque blue mailbox on the corner, opening its creaking rectangular metal mouth, and dropping the envelope within." This kind of comedy, which Schumacher handles with aplomb, simply would not work with a different, updated protagonist.

Also, despite his superannuated ways, Fitger, as it turns out, has not only a soul but a surprisingly sturdy ability to work the system, which together amount to a vision that easily sustains the satire in this novel (even if it does at times border on the sentimental).
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