Here’s the set up: A burnt-out politcal aide quits just before an election — but is forced to run a hopeless campaign on the way out. He makes a deal with a crusty old Scot, Angus McLintock — an engineering professor who will do anything, anything, to avoid teaching English to engineers — to let his name stand in the election. No need to campaign, certain to lose, and so on.
Then a great scandal blows away his opponent, and to their horror, Angus is elected. He decides to see what good an honest M.P. who doesn’t care about being re-elected can do in Parliament. The results are hilarious — and with chess, a hovercraft, and the love of a good woman thrown in, this very funny book has something for everyone.
Okay, so, yeah, I just didn’t dig this book. Sorry. It’s not that it wasn’t well-written (because it was) or that the story sucked (because it didn’t). I think it’s just a matter of it not being my kinda book. Which blows. But there you have it.
I find books that I didn’t like simply because they weren’t really my genre the hardest to review. I mean, what can I say? This is a political satire written in a style that I just don’t like. Does it mean it’s a shitty book? Hell no. Does it mean I’m a dumb-ass who just didn’t “get it”. Nopes. It just means that this wasn’t a good fit for me.
I started out with high hopes that I would fall in love with The Best Laid Plans. I like funny books. I like poking fun at politicians. But, alas, the love affair was never to happen. Sure, I found parts of the book humorous, but not laugh out loud funny. And, in all honesty, there were complete parts of the book I skipped. Go ahead and gasp, leave comments telling me I obviously didn’t like it because I didn’t read it all. But let me explain.
So, one of the characters, Angus, writes in a journal to his dead wife. Yeah, I basically skipped all these journal entries. Why? Because they summarized everything that had just happened. Everything I had just read about. I know that the point of the journal entries was so that the reader could get a true feel of Angus’ perception of what was happening, but the entries that I did try to read just seemed to be a rehashing. Maybe I missed key things. Maybe not. But I know if I had forced myself to read these entries I wouldn’t have finished the book.
I wasn’t a fan of the main character, Daniel, either, through no fault of his or the author’s. The way Daniel spoke was a bit pretentious and reminded me of a fella that I know and can’t stand. He’s a pretentious twit. I avoid him at all cost. So, unfortunately, I kinda ended up hating Daniel through osmosis. Like when you meet a jerk named Blake and from that moment forward, you forever HATE the name Blake. Not fair, I know, but thems the breaks.
And here’s where I make your head explode: despite the fact that I didn’t like The Best Laid Plans, I think it deserves to be a Canada Reads finalist. Yep, I do. This is a tale of an underdog who wants to stay an underdog and what happens when said underdog has to rise to the occasion and lead. It’s about changing the status quo and being true to who you are. And if that ain’t Canadian, then I don’t know what it.