- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 7 hours
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
- Audible.com Release Date: June 9, 2008
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B001AYHPG2
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Dear American Airlines Audible – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
Benjamin Ford is trying to get to his daughter's wedding in California when he finds himself stranded at O'Hare Airport in Chicago. He is composing an angry letter to American Airlines that takes the form of an autobiographical assessment of his own life. Benjamin has been a lush, drinking all day and all night until fairly recently. When morning would hit, sunshine felt like "shards of glass" to him. He drank away his first relationship with the mother of Speck, his daughter. Speck is getting married and Benjamin has not seen her, nor has he participated in her life, since she was an infant. He continued drinking for years after her birth and only stopped when Speck was out of college. He wants to walk Speck down the aisle, a promise he made to her in her infant days.
Benjamin was raised in New Orleans by a mentally ill mother who had multiple hospitalizations and suicide attempts. Recently, Benjamin's mother had a stroke which miraculously cured her mental illness. He currently lives with her in New York City. His father was Polish and arrived in the U.S. from Dachau, a concentration camp. Benjamin's father died when he was 15 years old. One of Benjamin's most poignant and happy memories of his mostly absentee father is that of his father occasionally lying in bed next to him and reciting poetry to him in Polish. Though Benjamin did not understand the language, he loved the sound of it, especially the hard consonants at the ends of words.
Benjamin was a somewhat recognized poet in his younger years. However, he now translates Polish poetry and novels into English. He sees the work of a translator as second-rate. It is the writer who always gets the woman, he muses, while the translator looks on. He discusses his years of bar-room poetry and his time in academia in a jaded, angry, brilliant and sometimes maudlin manner. Not since his twenties has Benjamin been able to write poetry of consequence. He has lost his righteous anger that worked so well for him as a poet. His current age is not made clear but he is probably in his middle to late 40's.
The strength of this book lies in its beautiful, raw and sorrowful writing - maudlin at times - and filled with a narcissistic self-pity. However maudlin the writing got, there was nothing that stopped me from wanting to keep reading. The book had me in its throes the whole time. The author has a powerful command of language and can balance several stories and strands at once. We get to hear Benjamin's personal story along with a parallel story that he is currently translating. This is all on top of the angry letter he is composing to American Airlines about the layover in Chicago that will cause him to miss his daughter's wedding. I highly recommend this book.
It's a great book, a little depressing near the end, but all in all; I'm glad I took the time to read it.
Having been stuck in airports before, the premise was too good to pass up. I enjoyed the book.
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