Excerpted from Dear Committee Members, by Julie Schumacher:
December 16, 2009
State Senator Pierce Balnearo’s Office
The Halls of Power
Honorable Internship Coordinator:
This letter’s purpose is to recommend to you—in the capacity of unpaid labor, presumably licking envelopes and knocking on doors—Malinda Heisman, a student in my Multicultural American Literature Class. Malinda is an A student, a wide-eyed earnest individual who will undoubtedly benefit from a few months spent among the self-serving pontificates in the senator’s office.
Malinda is intelligent: she is organized: she is well spoken. Given her aptitude for research (unlike most undergraduates, she has moved beyond Wikipedia), I am sure that she will soon learn that the senator, his leathern face permanently embossed with a gruesome rictus of feigned cheer, has consistently voted against funds for higher education and has cosponsored multiple narrow-minded backwater proposals that will make it ever more difficult for her to repay the roughly $38,000 in debt that the average graduate of our institution inherits—along with a lovely blue tassel—on the day of commencement.
Malinda’s final essay in my class—here it is on my desk, among a cast of thousands—is a windy but assiduous reading of Jamaica Kincaid’s At the Bottom of the River. The essay demonstrates strong writing skills and rigorous thinking. Allow Malinda the privilege of laboring in your office for nothing (she’ll probably continue to work nights as a barista in the coffee empire), and I am confident you will be making, though perhaps not in the ways you might have intended, a remarkable contribution to her education.
With all best wishes, I remain
Your devoted public servant,
Jay Fitger, Professor of the Lost Arts
A novel told in letters of recommendation, “each one of which is a small masterpiece of high dudgeon, low spirits, and passive-aggressive strategies.”
Review, written and spoken, over here at npr books…
Lots of fun…go read…