Sunday, June 3, 2012

Meeting of May 28, 2012

This meeting was hosted by Colette.  Present were Beth, Colette, Jane, Jolene, Linda, Michèle and Shirley. This month's book was The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis presented by Linda.  The book was recommended to Linda by a teacher and librarian.  She read both this book and Mr. Fallis' second book The High Road that is a sequel. After she read the books, she decided that a book that gave us the chance to laugh was a good choice.  Mr. Fallis won the 2008 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour and The Best Laid Plans won the 2011 Canada Reads competition.

All of us agreed that it was a very pleasant and interesting book.  Even Michèle who prefers dark, dramatic books enjoyed the story.  The story is about a political speech writer for the Liberal Party who wants out of the political life as an election is about to be called.  To appease his feelings of guilt of leaving the Liberal leader high and dry, he agrees to find a liberal candidate for an Ottawa area riding that has not voted liberal for decades.  He ends up managing the campaign with little money and no input from the candidate.

We all related to the local settings, the Cumberland-Prescott riding, Parliament Hill, downtown Ottawa, downtown Cumberland, the University of Ottawa.  All of us could "see" in our minds places that he described in the book.  The characters were well developed and easily imagined.  Angus was definitely the favourite character from the book.  The diary that Angus wrote to his departed wife, Marin Lee, a well-known feminist was moving and allowed us to see a side of Angus that was not evident in his everyday discussions with Daniel; Angus' way of pushing through the grief.  It was a favourite part of the book for many of us.  The twists and turns of the campaign had all of us turning the pages and wondering what would happen because of course, we all knew there had to be some way Duncan Angus McLintock would win because that is where the story was going!

Linda wrote to Terry Fallis and arranged for us to Skype with him during our meeting.  We all found it very easy to speak to him and several of us asked questions and related some of our observations. We asked if political pundits noted that he had an incident of "robocalls", directing voters to fictitious polls in his book way before the scandal of the Canadian 2011 federal campaign. Did someone copy the idea from his story?  It was very generous of him to give us of his time on a Monday evening.  Mr. Fallis' next book is Up and Down,  to be published in September 2012 is about astronauts, a departure from his politically based novels.

We offered to give him a tour of the riding of Cumberland-Prescott the next time he comes to Ottawa.  Though Mr. Fallis described the riding fairly well, he admitted to us that he has never actually been to Cumberland!

Thank you Linda for an excellent choice, great book to read; laughter is good for the soul!