Friday, July 15, 2011

A Monkey book report

Unlike a lot of my countrymen and women, I am curious about Canada, our neighbor to the north, and I want to read and learn more about it. So a few weeks back I picked up this book at a local used book store:
It came out in the late 1980's and it's references to the old USSR made me laugh, as did the passages about the old Brian Mulroney government. Alas, those two things were about all I enjoyed about this book.

The author clearly thinks he's a wit, perhaps on par with his late countryman Oscar Wilde. Sadly however, when it comes to witty writing he's got more in common with Oscar Gamble in the last stages of his major league baseball career. Mr. Brook stakes out his literary ground clearly and early in every chapter that I read and he refuses to budge off that ground. He begins his Canadian journey in Newfoundland, which he finds endearingly odd and he never lets us forget it. Then it's a quick jaunt off to the other maritime provinces, which according to Mr. Brook consist of Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island. He finds the people and landscape of those two places to be endearingly odd. Next up he saunters off to Quebec where he finds the Francophone population to be, wait for it, wait for it, endearingly odd. But it gets better in Quebec, he finds the people, the cities, and the landscape to also be stiff and boring too! By the time he hit Toronto, which he found just boring, which was almost refreshing for a change, I had had enough.

Having skipped over Prince Edward Island all together and seeing as how the very British Mr. Brook found most everyone in Canada to be endearingly odd or boring, I didn't want to see what he thought of the prairie region, the Rocky Mountain region, the northern territories, or British Columbia. I had a feeling he'd find them odd, boring, and not British.

Avoid this book. It stinks. There are better travel books about Canada out there, I know because I read one of them, Theatre of Fish by John Gimlette, and I'll keep searching them out. Seriously though, avoid this book like the plague.

1 comment:

kirby said...

What a coincidence. On a whim, I picked up a travel book written by a Brit who decided to enter a bike race that ran the length of the U.S. along the continental divide. I'm not sure how someone could write about going from Canada to Mexico by mountain bike and still be boring, but he found a way.