'Dear Committee Members' - Book Review

Dear Committee Members
Julie Schumacher
Doubleday, 180 pages

Dear Committee Members is an epistolary novel, composed of letters written by "Jay Fitzger, Professor of Creative Writing and English, Department of English, Payne University." They are mostly letters of recommendation, but Jay Fitzger isn't dissuaded from writing totally inappropriate personal digressions simply because the letter is supposed to be about someone else. Through this we rapidly learn of his severe foot-in-mouth disease (metaphorical, not medical), the deteriorating state of his university department, and his extremely damaged relations with his ex-wife and previous girlfriend (both also in academia).

The style of the author's writing can be easily demonstrated with a couple quotes:

This letter's purpose is to provide the usual gratuitous language
recommending a student, Gunnar Lang, for a work-study fellowship.  Lang - a
sophomore with a mop of blond dreadlocks erupting from the top of his head
like the yellow coils of an excess brain - tells me that he has applied,
unsuccessfully, for this same golden opportunity three times ...  Deny him
the fellowship and he will undoubtedly turn his hand to something more
lucrative, probably hawking illegal substances between the athletic
facilities and the Pizza Barn.  ...  He's charming in a saucy, loose-limbed
way, and his hair - his parents did right to name him Gunnar - is a
phenomenon unto itself that I suspect you'll enjoy.

And Gunnar is is someone he likes.

If *Sellebritta Online* is in need of an editor/copywriter who refuses to
allow the demands of honesty or originality to delay her output, it will
have found one in the unflappable Ms. Tara Tappani.

He did warn her that she didn't want his reference - she had, after all, got an F in his course.

Schumacher's writing is frequently hilariously funny, but her character's grinding social incompetence and vicious wit wore on me so badly I gave up entirely on page 82, unwilling to spend any more time with Professor Jay Fitzger.