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Adjunctivitis (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Length: 62 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2775 KB
  • Print Length: 62 pages
  • Publisher: Amazon; 1 edition (26 Dec. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #556,586 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this kindle single having previously read and enjoyed False Economies by the same author. Although they were, apparently, written many years apart, the voice of the author still shines through. I suspect there is a very heavy autobiographical element to them both, but no less interesting for that.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Don't expect to be gripped by this amusing short story ... but it's great for a journey and far more happy and enjoyable than our depressing daily newspapers ... and it left me wanting more! I liked the main character and his girl friend - perhaps we shall hear more of them. Daily Commuter: South East
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Format: Kindle Edition
Simply extraordinary. Written with keenly observed wit and a skill for making the humdrum hilarious. The author draws a lot of the content from his own life experiences I should think, making this craftsman like work a real winner. Gordon Haber, I salute you.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x95cd3900) out of 5 stars 17 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95d34960) out of 5 stars Another A+ for Professor Haber 11 Nov. 2013
By pbk1991 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of Haber's essays for years, and hugely enjoyed his last novella, False Economies; so I picked up Adjunctivitis and read it in two sittings -- not because it's so short, but because it's so good.

Adjunctivitis tells the story of Robert Rabinowitz, a soulful adjunct college English instructor who is facing simultaneous financial, personal, and professional crises. That might not sound funny, but trust me, it is. It's also thought-provoking and extremely well observed; and as usual, Haber's prose is exceedingly clear and precise -- the kind of writing that seems effortless but which, Rabinowitz would no doubt point out, requires an enormous amount of skill and hard work. So read it! It won't take long, and it'll be the best three bucks you've spent in ages. Personally, I'm hoping for another Haber novella sooner rather than later -- and I say this as someone who can't usually handle anything more than a short story.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9583d030) out of 5 stars Adjunctivitis is Contagious! 12 Nov. 2013
By Jeanette T. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An L.A.-based adjunct English professor has a bad back, lack of respect from the Dean and tenured professors, rice and beans for every meal, no health insurance, a broken down Lexus, and a girlfriend he feels he can't afford to marry. So far he's been able to cope, until... "On a mild April afternoon in Los Angeles Robert Allen Rabinowitz sat down for an essay-grading session and realized that he could no longer perform the task without vomiting." Literally. How will he snag the tenure-track position and the holy grail of health insurance if he can't grade his students' mounting pile of nauseating essays? That is the question. Or is it? When I first read the premise I thought this was a fantasy tale, but the plight of the adjunct--and anyone who's had to compromise their dreams--is so well written it all becomes painfully, and humorously, real. Like all funny stories the best ones have an equally heart-wrenching flip side, and Haber writes an extremely appealing blend of comedy and pathos in this fast-paced novella.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95b93054) out of 5 stars by personalizing a topic that can easily be abstracted into irrelevancy 5 Sept. 2014
By Nathaniel Cody Oliver - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
"He opened the windows and put his face in his hands, reminding himself that he had a loving girlfriend and worked in an honourable profession and that the inability to afford a twenty dollar bottle of whiskey did not indicate that he was a complete failure as a human being."

Gordon Haber, freelance writer and former adjunct, speaks from a place of hard-won experience in his brief novella Adjunctivitis, which he is currently offering for free to adjuncts and education reporters alike. As much as anything in the book, his generosity in this regard illustrates his insight into the realities of adjunct life, where even a $2.99 purchase might seem a wasteful extravagance. By extending this offer to journalists as well, Haber is undoubtedly signalling his commitment to enlightening the wider world to the realities of contingent academic labor.

Adjunctivitis, however, is hardly a polemic. Instead, it reads as a slice-of-life approach to the difficulties that countless teachers in higher education now face, dealing with the everyday injustices of life as a member of academia's lower caste with an understated wit and an eye for the telling detail. The novella, by personalizing a topic that can easily be abstracted into irrelevancy, works to remind all of us who are concerned with the direction of higher education that the human cost of adjunctification lies in the day-to-day trials that, over time, can turn even a devoted pedagogue against a career as an instructor.

The book follows Robert Allen Rabinowitz, a "five-year veteran" of undergraduate writing instruction. Working as a "freeway flier," Rabinowitz splits his time between two Los Angeles schools, Fortas College and Compton Community College, in order to cobble together enough courses to earn a living that hovers somewhere between "substandard" and "impoverished." Desperate for the financial security (and much-needed health insurance) that a full-time teaching position would bring, Rabinowitz struggles to keep his aging and unreliable Lexus in working order while eating rice and beans for the majority of his meals.

Unfortunately, though Rabinowitz has been assured by the department heads of both colleges that his diligence will be rewarded, the unceasing flood of poor student writing has begun to take its toll. He finds himself incapable of grading papers without vomiting profusely at howlers such as "Since the beginning of the universe, American society has always loved reality TV" and "Morals are important because without them we wouldn't know how to act morally in society." Briefly concerned that his symptoms may be indicative of some greater malady, Rabinowitz eventually realizes that he is suffering from a simple case of "adjunctivitis."

Throughout the book, Haber uses a light touch when discussing a variety of topics that will be surely be familiar to anyone who has taught in higher education, from the grueling process of essay grading to the tepid excuses of absent students to the petty squabbles of faculty meetings. However, though he is unfussily self-deprecating in his characterization of Rabinowitz, Haber demonstrates a sincere affinity for the transformative qualities of education, without venturing near the territory of over-the-top, "O Captain! My Captain!"-style antics (though Dead Poets' Society does earn a mention). Rather, Haber dutifully details the nuts-and-bolts minutiae of classroom instruction (taking attendance, collecting essays, distributing reading selections) to ground Rabinowitz even as he moderates the sort of trenchant discussions that routinely alter the course of young lives.

The second-class citizen stature of the adjunct is a theme that Haber returns to again and again in Adjunctivitis, not only in faculty meetings where Rabinowitz is faced with the unenviable task of presenting his ideas to the dismissive and obtuse ranks of the tenured gods, but in the world beyond the academy's walls, where he cannot help but feel ant-like amidst the giants of L.A.'s entertainment industry-fattened gentry. Rabinowitz is on the very bottom rung of an endlessly tall ladder, a space he shares with his economically disadvantaged African-American and Hispanic students. For them, the promise of education is salvation, even if, ironically, such economic salvation has failed to materialize in the case of their instructor.

One by one, the minor indignities and overall air of deprivation add up to a crushing indictment of the contingent academic labor system, which relies on the exploitation of a casualized class of workers like Adjunct Lecturer Robert Allen Rabinowitz, who (to paraphrase Haber himself) in the absence of spousal support or an inheritance, will gradually starve. As Charles Bukowski said, "An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way." And while the problem of adjunctification has been explored by intellectuals for decades, translating the simple truth that adjuncts are exploited workers into the often obfuscatory language of academia, Adjunctivitis is a welcome artistic response to higher education's dirty secret. Though I am loathe to utter the words "required reading," in Gordon Haber's case, I would make an exception: no one should be permitted to attend graduate school before first seeing where such a path might take them.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9582a918) out of 5 stars Must Read for All Adjuncts (and others too) 6 Nov. 2013
By Ashleigh Brendzel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
If you've ever worked a day in your life as an adjunct instructor, you absolutely have to read this. Gets everything right about that experience, from the economic to emotional turmoil and all the absurdity that comes in between. In truth, even if you've never had that particular experience, the story is funny and relate-able enough to be worth a read. As one of the protag's students might say, "Since the beginning of time, man has been constantly striving to write a story like this."
HASH(0x95d07c54) out of 5 stars Hilarious, except that it's so true 3 Nov. 2014
By Nathan Schneider - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Adjunctivitis poses as a novella, and one with a magical-realist conceit. I read it slowly and pleasurably as I prepared for, and then began, teaching as an adjunct for the first time since graduate school some years ago. Much of the time I was laughing out loud. Haber's prose is inviting and deft, and his characters have an attractive simplicity and goodness—although immersed in a world of bureaucratic horror—that recalls the best of old-fashioned melodrama. As I began my round of adjuncting, however, it became increasingly clear to me that what I had once mistaken as magical realism was in fact plain realism—a dead-on portrait of what it is to be a well-meaning and mild-mannered person interested in practicing the perfectly necessary profession of teaching college students in the twenty-first century. This book is both a pleasure and a warning. It would have the effect of turning the whole class of adjuncts into masked revolutionaries were we not in fact such a well-meaning and mild-mannered bunch.
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