Review of The Best Laid Plans and The High Road
December 21, 2011 Leave a comment
In the first book, we’re introduced to Daniel Addison, who through a series of unfortunate events, decides to leave Ottawa politics. One condition of his career change to professor, is that he must find a Liberal candidate in his extremely Conservative riding just outside of Ottawa.
After a long search and a lot of persuasion, Daniel convinces the grizzly professor, Angus McLintock to run (in name only) for the spot. Much to the dismay of both men, Angus comes into power and Daniel has to jump back into the fold of politics as his campaign manager, though this time his stay in Ottawa is anything but ordinary.
Angus is a great character in the sense that he has no favours to return, no hidden agenda and wants to actually do what’s best for Canada – imagine that! It’s funny to picture this grumpy, hairy Scotsman in his 60s causing such a ruckus in Parliament, but it’s also refreshing. What I loved both about the books is for a few hundred pages I could actually picture a politician not caring about his own personal agenda. After a few painful Federal, Provincial and Municipal voter turnouts it made me wonder if people would actually start feeling positive about politics again if the majority of candidates were like Angus. Don’t think that’ll ever happen though.
In this National Post article from February 2011, CNN broadcaster Ali Velshi sums up what makes the story so compelling:
“This is a book that speaks to the frustration and the disenfranchisement of people all across the world right now. We’re seeing it playing out. All people want is fairness in democracy. We’re not as bad off as other societies are, but we are certainly in a place where people don’t think they’re heard by their elected officials. This book speaks to all of those people and says to people ‘You have an opportunity to be heard.’”
While I did enjoy both storylines, the first with Angus getting into politics and the second with him running for a snap re-election, I did have a few concerns.
It was too clean: Every issue the McLintock team faced always seemed to have a convenient solution, or something tended to work in their favour completely by chance.
Too much exaggeration: Would Canadians really care about every little thing that was going down in this small riding? Yes, the politician was a wacky character who made for great TV, but I could never picture national coverage going to a little town’s election results, or the United States President hearing about him and wanting to make a visit.
Grammar Police: The grammar corrections were kind of funny to begin with but it got played out real quick. I get it was just how their characters were, and I respect that, but that type of person really grinds my gears.
Overall I enjoyed the books. They were easy reads and I’m happy Terry is having success (CBC is making The Best Laid Plans into a miniseries – my vote is for Paul Gross to play Daniel and Brendan Gleeson to play Angus), but I’ve come to the conclusion that I humor in novels just isn’t for me. I give each book a 3.5/5.