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Dear American Airlines (2008)

by Jonathan Miles

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6263626,633 (3.24)95
Bennie Ford, a fifty-three-year-old failed poet turned translator, is traveling to his estranged daughter's wedding when his flight is cancelled. Stuck with thousands of fuming passengers in the purgatory of O'Hare airport, he watches the clock tick and realizes that he will miss the ceremony. Frustrated, irate, and helpless, Bennie does the only thing he can: he starts to write a letter. But what begins as a hilariously excoriating demand for a refund soon becomes a cris de coeur of a life misspent, talent wasted. Bennie pens his letter in a voice that is a marvel of lacerating wit, heart-on-sleeve emotion, and wide-ranging erudition--all propelled by the fading hope that if he can just make it to the wedding, he has a chance to do something right in his life.… (more)
  1. 00
    Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher (beyondthefourthwall)
    beyondthefourthwall: In which humour stems from a cantankerous middle-aged American white guy having a real knack for embarking on overlong and rambling personal tangents.
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» See also 95 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
This book just didn't do anything for me...despite being less than 200 pages I had a hard time finishing it. Bennie, the author of the complaint "letter" to American Airlines was likeable or sympathetic and the portions of the book that included Bennie's translations of the novel he was translating were pointless and annoying. ( )
  baruthcook | Aug 26, 2020 |
I didn't stop reading it BUT half way through I read an interview with Ursula K. Le Guin in the New York Times (8/9/15) which almost stopped me. She was asked, "What genres do you especially enjoy reading? and which do you avoid?" and she replied, " I tend to avoid fiction about dysfunctional urban middle-class people written in the present tense. This makes it hard to find a new novel, sometimes." Whoops. This is a novel about a dysfunctional urban middle-class man. It was cleverly written: doesn't that count? Not enough. But I didn't stop reading, so perhaps 2.5 stars. I can't really say I liked it, or that I brought anything but angst away from it. ( )
  MaryHeleneMele | May 6, 2019 |
A tiny, almost perfect book. Guy going to a wedding, flight cancelled for no apparent reason, stranded in O'Hare, decides to write for a refund. And so it begins! A concise tale of the life of a fahter and the daughter who's wedding he needs to attend. ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
Interesting story but anti-climactic. ( )
  JamesPaul977 | Oct 1, 2016 |
The writing was terrific. Forget the premise of someone writing a complaint letter to American Airlines while stranded in the airport. That is just a device for the author to tell Bennie's story. Even the story is not important. What is important is the humor, creativity, and levels of thought that occur with this novel. Although 180 pages, it really was longer because it was almost entirely a narrative. I was so impressed my Jonathan Miles' ability to constantly come up with funny insightful observations. Unlike other reviewers, I really did not dwell on his life(alcoholic poet translator) and the use of the letter to the airline device. Those that dwelled on that in a negative way missed the importance of his creative writing. He had so many interesting rifts and streams of consciousness. His one about observing a young woman's breast springing out of her basketball jersey blouse with a nipple like a pink tic-tac was a classic. To me this book represented everything I like about good modern fiction. Can't wait to read his newest novel. I think this is my first 5 star this year. ( )
  nivramkoorb | Dec 4, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
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in memorium
LARRY BROWN
(1951-2004)
bro
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Dear American Airlines, my name is Benjamin R. Ford and I am writing to request a refund in the amount of $392.68.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Bennie Ford, a fifty-three-year-old failed poet turned translator, is traveling to his estranged daughter's wedding when his flight is cancelled. Stuck with thousands of fuming passengers in the purgatory of O'Hare airport, he watches the clock tick and realizes that he will miss the ceremony. Frustrated, irate, and helpless, Bennie does the only thing he can: he starts to write a letter. But what begins as a hilariously excoriating demand for a refund soon becomes a cris de coeur of a life misspent, talent wasted. Bennie pens his letter in a voice that is a marvel of lacerating wit, heart-on-sleeve emotion, and wide-ranging erudition--all propelled by the fading hope that if he can just make it to the wedding, he has a chance to do something right in his life.

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