Saturday, June 6, 2009

Don't Go There!

When will I learn that the glowing descriptions of books in those ever-so-helpful library publications will only lead to disappointment? Once again I was woefully misled into wasting 7 hours of my precious audio book listening time on Dear American Airlines by Jonathan Miles. Not a book with any British connections, alas, but even that probably wouldn't have saved it.

The story centers around Bennie Ford, who is stranded at Chicago's O'Hare Airport on the way to his daughter's wedding (or "commitment ceremony," since she's marrying another woman). Bennie decides to write a letter of complaint to American Airlines demanding the return of the price of his airline ticket. Because he has so much time on his hands, the letter becomes a long narrative on his life and the many mistakes that he has made. His life story is interwoven with his translation of a Polish novel that he's working on. I know I was supposed to be getting all sorts of connections between the Polish novel and Bennie's life, but mostly it was just mind-numbingly tedious.

Unfortunately, once I had invested a few hours in the story, I kept listening in the vain hope that something, anything might happen to make the story interesting. Alas, even after I finished listening to the audio book, I'm still waiting for it to become interesting. Bennie is a failed poet, a failed husband, a failed father . . . in short, no one you can really sympathize with or root for (and, having my own share of airline-related horror stories, I really did want to be on his side).

Final Verdict for Dear American Airlines: Zero Gherkins -- it's really a disappointment!

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