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Dear American Airlines by Jonathan Miles
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Dear American Airlines (2008)

by Jonathan Miles

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5983316,394 (3.25)95

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Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
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 |
A good idea that went bad. The main character was annoying. It was written like a bad blog entry (or a rambling letter - which is what it is...but it could have been better!). I can admit to skipping over a lot the paragraphs about Walenty (the main character is translating a book about this dude)...I'm sure it had something to do with the story, but I just wasn't interested. ( )
1 vote melissarochelle | Apr 11, 2013 |
What do you do when you are stuck in O'Hara because your flight was canceled and you are on the way to the wedding of your daughter whom you have not seen since she was an infant? You write a letter to the airlines telling your life story which includes a lot of alcohol, missed opportunities, family and friends with issues and sorrows. You tell it with with and humor and you leave your reader asking some of the big questions about life. ( )
  lindap69 | Apr 5, 2013 |
This set up—writing a complaint letter—was surprisingly ungimmicky. This is one of the few books that made me chuckle out loud and kind of broke my heart at the same time. There’s nothing groundbreaking here, but for a “white male f*#k-up novel,”—usually the type that bores me—it was a pretty satisfying read. ( )
  Samchan | Mar 31, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (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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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0547054017, Hardcover)

Elizabeth Gilbert on Dear American Airlines
Elizabeth Gilbert's first three books, Pilgrims, Stern Men, and the National Book Award nominee The Last American Man, received awards and acclaim, but her fourth, Eat, Pray, Love, a chronicle of her spiritual search and redemption following a difficult divorce, has put her on the bedside tables of millions of readers across the world. Her next book, Weddings and Evictions, a memoir about her unexpected journey into second marriage, will be published in 2009.

I'm one of those readers who can't get enough of Martin Amis novels, since Amis--a savage misanthrope who sometimes writes, it seems, with a drill bit--is a guilty pleasure of mine from way back. So it's no wonder that I fell so hard for the bitter, hilarious, dark, twisted, and wonderfully written delights of Dear American Airlines--the most Amis-like novel I've ever read. Jonathan Miles is a first-time novelist (and--full disclosure--friend of mine) whose journalism I've long admired for its clear, humane prose. I never suspected that he had a book like this in him, and--frankly--now that I do know, I'm a little worried for his mental state (even as I'm totally impressed with his writing.)

The novel relays the tale of Bennie Ford, a man who is marinating like a cocktail olive in the sour middle-aged juices of his own mistakes, but who has decided to redeem himself completely by attending the wedding of his estranged daughter. Now, as some of us have learned from painful personal experience, it's not always easy to redeem a lifetime of screw-ups in one weekend, but that doesn't deter Bennie from heading to the airport to fly off to what he has decided is the most important event in his life. (The fact that he doesn't seem to notice that the wedding should actually be the most important event in his DAUGHTER'S life, not his, is an early clue of his particular breed of hilarious narcissism.) But at the airport is where his troubles begin, as American Airlines cancels his flight and thus--as far as he is concerned--destroys his life. What follows is a complaint letter raised to the level of high narrative art. I have never before encountered a novel written in the form of a complaint letter, and we can safely assume there will never be another such after this one, just because Miles has created an inimitable story here--one which, despite all the dark wit of its narrator--leaves room in the sad margins for real heartbreak, real feeling, real life. (This is something Amis himself wasn't able to do until many years into his career.) This is the most entertaining first novel I've read in a long while, as well as a searing cautionary tale. Bring it to the airport with you next time you fly somewhere to change your life...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:42 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"Bennie Ford, a fifty-three-year-old failed poet turned translator, is traveling to his estranged daughter's wedding when his flight is canceled. 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 lament for a life gone awry, for years misspent, talent wasted, and happiness lost. A man both sinned against and sinning, Bennie writes in a voice that is a marvel of lacerating wit, heart-on-sleeve emotion, and wide-ranging erudition, underlined by a consistent groundnote of regret for the actions of a lifetime - and made all the more urgent by the fading hope that if he can just make it to the wedding, he might have a chance to do something right."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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