Rated Reads

Dear American Airlines

by Jonathan Miles

Rated: DIRT

Bennie Ford, a middle-aged translator of foreign texts, is traveling via airplane to his estranged daughter’s lesbian wedding when his flight is canceled. His long rant to the airline in letter form is the novel Dear American Airlines.

The novel is often funny, bitingly so, as one would expect from this type of a letter. Bennie complains to the airline but goes off on long tangents about his personal life and history, his work, his ex-wife and their daughter. Some of the book is just what many readers would be happy to write an airline at one time or another, and in those parts the novel feels quite cathartic.

This novel is probably consistently funny in a dry and caustic way, but the vulgarity of language is so pervasive and frequent in just the 50 pages that I read that I just did not see the point in continuing to read. Some readers may have a hard time swallowing that lengthy of a rant, even though the novel is quite short (for a novel, not a letter). That kind of cynicism and bile can get old quickly. A smart and witty novel, probably, but for those who want clean reading, definitely DIRT.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for more than 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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Clean book review Dear American Airlines
  • Dear American Airlines
  • by Jonathan Miles
  • Rated: DIRT
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Reviewer: