The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis.
The online blurb (in lieu of the back cover blurb since I don’t have the book to steal from): “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.”
Considering The Best Laid Plans won CBC’s Canada Reads this year, I scarcely think it needs my insignificant stamp of approval, but I’m giving it anyway, just in case your alien abduction coincided with the Canada Reads hoopla and you missed all the media coverage. It’s okay; I’m always several months behind the rest of the world too.
Much has been written about how Fallis initially had to self-publish this book because no publishers would take it on, which, believe me, says more about the publishing industry than the quality of his work. The Best Laid Plans went on to win The Stephen Leacock Award for Humour and only then was picked up by a publishing house. Crazy. After all these accolades, however, I doubt he’ll ever have to worry about self-publishing again.
Anyway. The book. It’s funny and smart and well-written and interesting, even though it’s about politics. (Seriously, I almost didn’t read it because I thought, politics? Snore.) The characters are enjoyable and while the plot is somewhat predictable, it’s still a pleasure to watch it unfold.
Have you read The Best Laid Plans? What did you think?