Dear American Airlines
More lists with this book...
i. It was mercifully short.
ii. It wasn't quite dreadful enough to go on the 'utter dreck' shelf, though its brevity may have been a key mitigating factor.
Although it didn't quite make the 'utter dreck' cut, it was an overhyped, forgettable waste of time. One of those books where, when I read the glowing reviews it has garnered from others, I feel that maybe I live in a parallel universe. I ...more
Everyone was ballyhooing this book upon its publication.
So I plunked down for a nice hardcover addition.
Everyone knows the concept: one-time drunk, has-been poet, current translator rehashes his life story in a long, long, l-o-n-g letter of complaint to the air carrier that's left him stranded in O'Hare, missing his estranged daughter's wedding/commitment ceremony.
Execution is fine and funny. Writer Jonathan Miles has a fine ear for a comic phr ...more
Rage, rage and more rage - this is what this book is all about. Seemingly rage against a company who wouldn't deliver good service, but really rage against life itself, and all the disappointments we get from it. It's maddening that things don't go as we planned, that things go wrong, that everything is really shit, or at least, much less glorious than what they made us think as children. We were full of promise then, and now, we're just like everybody else - struggling to sur ...more
Whether one loves or hates this protogonist, or loves or hates this book, (the nature of the beast of this book is that doesn't seem to leave much middle ground as far readerly relationships go), no one can deny Miles can flat-out write, he can write sentences, so well that his honor the craft of literatu ...more
Bennie Ford is a 53 year old man, on his way to California to attend his daughter's wedding.... the daughter he has not seen since she was an infant. Bennie's flight, as so often happens, is canceled and he ends up at O'Hare Airport in Chicago, which puts in doubt his ability to make it to the wedding. Bennie and his fellow travelers are outraged over their thwarted travel plans; but in between 'smoke breaks', Benn ...more
Admittedly, it started off promisingly enough, with a virulent rant address to American Airlines, one all frequent flyers can relate to. Initially, the novel was quite funny in an off-kilter Confederacy of Dunces way. Alas, soon it began to spiral downwards as Benjamin (Benny) Ford, stranded in O'Hare airport, reflects on his life. Suffice it to say his life is a train wreck, in large part a self-inflicted one.
Had I bought this book and not borrowed it from the library, I'd demand my effin' money back.
This book was not all that funny. But then, maybe it wasn't intended to be and my bad for assuming a humorous read.
I was incredibly annoyed by your whiny narrator. I felt no connection to him.
The bit where you tell a separate story within the main one via sharing the narrator's evolving translation of a foreign novel? No dice. It seemed to me like you really wanted to write THAT tale and c ...more
I couldn't tell if the author himself is a bitter man (he doesn't look all that bitter on the book jacket) o ...more
"...there'd be so many halter tops bouncing on the dance floor it felt like the inside of a Lottery machine."
There is so much in this novel to dislike, to abhor even; I'm almost at a loss to explain why I enjoyed it so very much. But not quite. Perhaps it's because Dear American Airlines, by Jonathan Miles is so incredibly ripe with wonderful, worthy, witty, occasionally weighty, word-smithery. Is it a short memoir novel, or a lengthy, spirited, poem? Or just a long-winded, overwritten, lett ...more
The novel's conceit--life story within a complaint letter to American Airlines. All the complaints were spot on and really depict the indignity of modern air travel perfectly.
The ending. No spoilers for me, but if this novel had ended any differently, I would have been writing a complaint letter.
The novel's protagonist is one of those 20th century characters I recently complained about on the blog (http://kidslitinformation.blogspot.co...). Alcohol problem: check. Estranged from ...more
It's the kind of book that you can't bear to take back to the library 'cause you love it sooooo much...and when you decide you're going to copy down all the great passages, you end up copying most of the book :)
I don’t care much for airports. Does anyone? Other than for aerial transportation purposes they offer nothing I couldn’t experience elsewhere for less money, trouble, anxiety, head- and/or heartache. To me airports are nothing more than compartmentalized downtowns, replete with meandering tourists, overpriced sandwiches and unfulfilled promises.
It’s the latter many, if not most, of us have experienced first-hand to varying degrees but equal infuriation. Which is to say we’ve all been ...more
Every critic was at first skeptical of this epistolary "gimmick novel" about a self-pitying, if lovable, loser, but by the end, all agreed that "the concept works beautifully" (Los Angeles Times). Miles's effort produced an intelligent, playful, and, above all, moving story full of humor and well-written digressions. Bennie is a remarkably flawed but sympathetic man, and though his hilarious asides may not always advance the storyline, they certainly contribute to the fun. The only point of cont...more
Being stranded in an airport is no fun. You feel like an unloved package sitting in a dark Fed-ex warehouse waiting to be delivered, everything in you jumping up shouting '' deliver me! deliver me, now!'' and in so many ways, so goes Jonathan Miles' '' Dear American Airlines''.
The plot flows in something that resembles a tragicomey: Middle-aged aspiring yet failed poet now turned translator Bennie ( short for Benjamin) Ford is strande ...more
My name is Benjamin R. Ford and I am writing to request a refund in the amount of $392.68. But then, no, scratch that: Request is too mincy & polite … I am rather demanding a refund in the amount of $392.68. Demanding demanding demanding.”
So begins Jonathan Miles’ offbeat novel, Dear American Airlines, which is either a slight novel at 180 pages or an epic, profane rant of a letter depending on how you look at it. The aforementioned Bennie Ford has gotten strand ...more
Miles starts by framing the entire novel through the eyes of an angry American Airlines customer, writing ostensibly to request a refund for a cancelled flight. And then somehow, when the book starts to get really interesting 25 pages in or so, this crazed a ...more
Shortly before I left New Orleans, I was fooling around with an equally alky divorcée named Sandra ( ...more
I demand to know how you fit such an incredible amount of fictional biography, faux(?) translation and commentary into your 180 pages. Usually, I would consider a book of your length a novella, but you are right to call yourself a novel.
Yes, your narrator is a no-account rogue, but he writes a great confessional complaint. Not only did I laugh, cry ("Stella!"), and run through many other emotions, you caught me off guard and I almost missed my train station. As you kn ...more
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Dear American Airlines was named a Best Book of 2008 by the Wall Street Journal, ...more