02 February 2009

Book Review: Dear American Airlines by Jonathan Miles

Now this is one good book that I have read. Jonathan Miles' first novel, entitled Dear American Airlines, is one book that I would praise for its originality.

Here's the gist of it. The book is a novel written in the form of a rant. There is this one middle-aged man, Benjamin Ford, who is flying from New York City to Los Angeles, and he has a forty-five minute lay-over in Chicago. However, due to weather reasons, his flight got delayed, and he is now stranded in the Chicago O'Hare International Airport. One learns that he circled Chicago over and over, until the pilot was forced to land in Peoria, and later was bussed to Chicago. He then spends the next 20-something hours in Chicago, and he has nothing to do, except to write a complaint letter to the airline.

That's why the novel is entitled that way. It is a 180-page rant which somehow involves his pathetic life, his miserable alcoholism, his failed relationships, his attempts on being a poet, his child trouble, his schizophrenic mother, among others. He is on the way to Los Angeles to attend his daughter's wedding, who happens to be getting married with a girl. Yes, his daughter is lesbian. Later on, we also learn that he had suicidal intentions of his own.

Anyway, the most fascinating thing about this novel is that the concept is very original. Who would think of a novel in the form of a rant? And even more amazing, is the fact that it can be sustained for 180 pages! It is indeed one of the most original novels I have read in a while, and I am just fascinated at how much material it covered, all forming a coherent whole, with minor characters such as other passengers, people from the past, a TSA officer, and others. The author also made a good job of checking his facts: American Airlines does have a hub in Chicago, the gate numbers are all correct as being American Airlines gates, and the lay-out of the airport, as much as it is described in the novel, are pretty much accurate. I suppose I have flown through Chicago enough to know this.

Anyway, I totally recommend this book for anyone to read. If you want to read an original book, don't hesitate to pick this one up.

See my other book reviews here.

(Embajada de Colombia, from my Embassy Row Series)


  1. Sounds good! I love reading people's rants (and sometimes thats the only reason for visiting certain blogs!)

  2. You are reading quite a lot... I wish I do the same...:-(

  3. Final Transit,

    Yes! You should try getting hold of this! It is a funny book!


    I love reading. Ever since I was little, I devour books like crazy. I even remember my parents taking away my books as punishment once.

  4. I hope this book is available here in Manila. I would love to read this.

  5. Kegler747,

    Wish that this book gets released as a paperback. That way it will have more chances of entering the Philippine bookstore market.