Saturday, May 14

Book Review: Best Laid Plans

Title: The Best Laid Plans

Author: Terry Fallis

Pages: 312

Summary: Thirty-something Daniel Addison is jaded and burned out from his Parliament Hill job as a speech writer for the Liberal Leader of the Opposition. After a messy breakup with his girlfriend, Daniel is eager to escape the duplicitous world of Canadian politics, so he accepts a faculty position with the University of Ottawa’s English Department. He soon moves into a boathouse apartment in nearby Cumberland owned by Angus McLintock, a cranky engineering professor in his sixties who is mourning the recent loss of his wife.

Both Angus and Daniel intend to retreat from the world for a while, but fate won’t have it. Angus is desperate to avoid teaching English to first-year engineering students yet again. Daniel, as penance for abandoning his party on the eve of an election, must find a Liberal candidate to run in ultra-Conservative Cumberland. In an unlikely alliance, Angus consents to stand as the in-name-only, certain-to-lose Liberal candidate, and Daniel agrees to take Angus’s English class.

Everything is going according to plan until the voters are suddenly forced to take a closer look at Angus, throwing his certain defeat into doubt. Scrambling to deal with this unexpected development, Angus and Daniel land in the middle of a hilarious political maelstrom that tests not only their friendship but their beliefs in government and democracy.

My Rating: 4/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Well, I seem to be one of the few people who didn’t enjoy the book, or find it funny. Nearly every review I’ve read on this book said it was “side-splitting humour”, well if you find fart jokes funny, cliché punch lines and forced jokes thrown in there, just to make it a funny book, then maybe you’ll find it funny. But I didn’t see the humour in this book. Sure there were some funny bits in there, the beginning of the book showed promise (think of the humour you’d see in 22 minutes, Colbert report etc), but the book just fell apart for me after that.

The story was okay, but it didn’t engage me at all, and I didn’t care much for the characters, Angus was a good character, the letters to his dead wife at the end of nearly every chapter were touching, and he is a character that will make the reader smile, but he is the only redeemable character in the book. I found my self hoping Daniel would be hit by a truck, so I didn’t have to listen to his miserable whining anymore. Overall the characters weren’t well done, there wasn’t much development (except for Angus), and most of them, just seemed to be there, for the sake of being there.

As for the writing, again it’s nothing special. It’s average. It didn’t impress me, the writer didn’t get me more interested in politics, and the humour he tied into the book was forced. It was like he had a joke in his head about a certain political event, or topic (or any topic for that matter) that he thought was funny and tried to fit it into the book. Many times the jokes didn’t work right, maybe less is more would have made it a more pleasing read for me, but overall I didn’t like the book. Maybe I read it at the wrong time, during the end of the election here in Canada, which may have reflected my bitterness towards the book, but it just wasn’t anywhere near to what I expected it to be.

Would I recommend it to read: I wouldn't. I just didn't find the humour in this book, nor did I find it to be a good read. Some readers out there would enjoy it (by the reviews, most seem to), but I just couldn't get into it.

What to read next: If you enjoyed the book, read the sequel. Also since it was a book from Canada Reads (and winner) read the other books - Essex County (graphic novel), Bone Cage, Unless, Birth House.

Challenges: 11 in 11, 100+ Reading Challenge, 2011 Countdown Challenge, A - Z Challenge, New Author Challenge, Spring Reading Thing


  1. I don't think you were alone.

    I was decidedly neutral on the book. I can't rave about it, I liked it enough not to hate it and I can see why some people really liked it. It did seem very cliche (nice call on the 22 minutes) and yet, it appears to have become true to life for several NDP candidates in Quebec! (although they don't seem as bright and sincere as Angus McClintock)

    There's a sequel?

  2. Oh no! This doesn't sound like a book I would enjoy, because I typically lose interest if there is even one hint of a fart joke. It's too bad that this one wasn't for you, but don't beat yourself up over it. Sometimes I just hate a book that everyone else seems to love, and I just have remember that it's different strokes for different folks.

  3. raidergirl3 - Well, I'm glad I'm not the only one. The sequel, is The High Road. It's either just been released, or about to be released.

    Zibilee - You're right about that, this book just seemed, most folkes liked it. Ah well, I tried it at least.