Pin It
Favorite

Book Review 

by WAYNE HUNT & r & & r & Dear American Airline & r & by Jonathan Miles & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & H & lt;/span & onestly, reading about being stuck in an airport seemed pointless to me. The book jacket promised "Funny!" but I didn't expect much. (I didn't enjoy the 2004 Tom Hank's movie The Terminal, about an immigrant stranded for weeks in an airport terminal.) However, in his debut novel, Dear American Airlines, journalist Jonathan Miles finds meaning and humor in the lamented life of post-alcoholic, translator and has-been poet Bennie Ford.





While Bennie is flying cross-country to his daughter's wedding -- there has been no contact for over 20 years -- the flight is cancelled mid-air, stranding him in Chicago's O'Hare Airport. Bennie takes aim at the airline's management and pens a letter seeking a refund for his ticket. What ensues is a long complaint about everything that has gone badly in his life and how it all culminates in waiting at the airport. The letter takes on a life of its own, drifting back into childhood then forward through adulthood and relationships, all the while describing the various people and situations observed while waiting at the airport. Don't forget that this is a writer penning a letter -- a 180-page continuous letter! But Bennie makes fun of his own digressions, so you keep on reading, dumping your laughter into the descriptions of people and investing in his genuine blunt-force-trauma emotion.





Awkward at first, Bennie interrupts his own letter with passages of a Polish book that he is translating. This story -- about a soldier trying to rebuild his life after losing his leg -- is less engaging than the one that Bennie is telling about his own life, but you can't help but wonder where the two will meet.





A revelation is foreshadowed when, in aside, Bennie describes his take on a past event as "desire painting perception." Perhaps that's what the reader is supposed to take from Miles' long monologue -- that we shouldn't allow our wishes to distort what we know of reality. Or maybe Miles' humor conveys a deeper message about our disappointments in ourselves. In the end, though, all the digressions come together, making this book -- oops, this letter -- more about hope than anything else.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Game Changer
  • Game Changer

    Since Condon became mayor, Jan Quintrall has been responsible for some of the biggest changes in the city of Spokane — and some of its biggest controversies
    • Dec 17, 2014
  • In Contempt
  • In Contempt

    A Spokane judge rules that the mental health system has willfully failed to follow evaluation deadlines
    • Dec 17, 2014
  • Never Again
  • Never Again

    Washington state lawmakers push reforms after last July's murder-suicide; plus, Spokane's police ombudsman is leaving
    • Dec 17, 2014
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri
Campbell House Holidays

Campbell House Holidays @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 4

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Let Us Breathe

    Spokane joins national protests over the failure to indict white officers for killing black civilians
    • Dec 10, 2014
  • Screw Big Cities

    A mid-sized manifesto
    • Dec 3, 2014
  • More »

© 2014 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation