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The Best Laid Plans

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  5,890 ratings  ·  715 reviews
A burnt-out political 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 - or is he?
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Published March 26th 2010 by Emblem Editions (first published August 22nd 2007)
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When I first picked up Terry Fallis' novel which is described on the cover as a "satirical novel of Canadian politics" I wasn't expecting it to be very compelling -- I'm not much into politics, after all.

But this novel was compelling from the first word. I was immediately hooked by narrator Daniel Addison and his departure from the Canadian political scene to teach English to Engineers at Ottawa University.

I particularly enjoyed the hilarious and uniquely creative description of walking in on hi
Dec 08, 2008 Terry rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
I'll not ramble on here about my own book beyond saying that I hope those who read it enjoy it.
The Stephen Leacock Awards committee has no credibility. The characters are two-dimensional stereotypes without insight or growth. The metaphors are overwrought, thickly-slathered (usually doubly-slathered), and flat. References to hockey and skating aren't funny just because they're Canadian. The dialogue is similarly dull. The plot is predictable and the romantic side-plot superficial and wholly without dramatic tension. Underdramatized, too, are the characters. They are most often indifferent ...more
OK, so you know that feeling when you've found the perfect book/song/band/child's name/whatever, and then shortly after it becomes popular? You know..."GAH! Why can't I just have this one thing to myself? Why do I always have to share? Now everybody's going to be talking about it/using it/slobbering all over it, and it's going to get overdone/overused/overanalyzed - this SUCKS!" Yeah...I totally didn't feel that when this book became the Canada Reads book. I was in a rut, not really enjoying the ...more
Not a fabulous read, but not terrible either. It's an altogether predictable storyline (yes, I knew Angus would get into the role, yes I knew Daniel and Lindsay would hook up,yes I knew the Pete's would transform, yes I knew the hovercraft would make a big play) and I found most of the characters - well, the ones that are developed in any significant way - cliché. The campy, Canadian humour was cute but a little much at times (see for example p. 52 where Lindsay remarks in amazement about the la ...more
Lorina Stephens
Mar 21, 2009 Lorina Stephens rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
The Best Laid Plans, by Terry Fallis, is, in my opinion, a perfect novel, deserving of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, and of every accolade it receives. If you haven't yet read it you must, right now, rush out and purchase your very own copy; no, don't borrow one, buy your own because it will be a mainstay on your bookshelf for years to come.

Now, it's best to understand it's not easy to make me laugh, and I'm also a very critical reader; despite that Terry had me laughing myself silly wi
It's tough to give a Stephen Leacock Award winner just three stars without justifying it.

On the surface - it's a funny novel, with a well crafted plot that ends with the good guys winning the day and the bad guys being voted out of power.

The writing is intelligent and funny and lines such as "Ottawa is a great meat grinder that takes in idealism at one end and spits out cynical sausage at the other" are delightful. So is the description of the sex-act between the Opposition House Leader and our
Ah, I loves me some Canadian political satire. Don't think I've had this much fun since King John of Canada (Scott Gardiner - go read it).

A young politico quits Ottawa when the blech factor gets to be too much, but he's "persuaded" to run one final campaign in a riding where the party has no hope in hell of winning a seat.

The last guy he bugs to stand up is a an Engineering Prof who desperately wants to get out of teaching English 101, and so a deal is struck. Then he finds a firecracker former
Ann Douglas
This is one of the funniest novels I have read in a long time (and I'm talking laugh-out-loud funny, not just smile-to-yourself funny).

If you pay far more attention to Canadian politics than any sane person should, this book is definitely for you.

The novel's premise is fabulous and the characters (particularly the self-deprecating narrator) are truly inspired.

At last! A beach book for political geeks.

Sarah (Workaday Reads)
I recently finished reading The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis. It is definitely not my usual type of book, but I did thoroughly enjoy, much to my surprise. It is the One Book, One Community selection for 2010 for the Waterloo region, so I thought I would give it a try.

The book is about Canadian politics, and centres around an ex-speechwriter who is trying to leave politics and a university professor who agrees to be the Liberal candidate in a no-hope-to-win riding. It is very funny to read; I
An Odd1
On Feb 2014 CBC-TV mini-series conclusion, kilt marches down federal halls of power, force meets immovable, bodes well for sequel. excerpts
The Best Laid Plans, from Robbie Burns' To A Mouse 1785, is a popular title. Terry Fallis, experienced in engineering and public relations, penned a podcast that grew. Humor meets honor, "passion for proper English" conquer the compromised democracy of Canadian politics. (Typo: p 193 "through the ringer" should be wringer, two rollers that sq
Jennifer D
hmm...i really wanted to love this book but i only just liked it. which is a shame. fallis is an awesome man but i struggled with a few things in this novel:

* it felt inconsistently edited - some places time jumped...two weeks would pass and the action carried through like nothing had happened during the ensuing/missing time. in other places, the plot felt padded and plodding, as though it could have been tightened up for flow. so this was a bummer.

* our hero, angus, is proudly scottish (YAY!) b
Although a relatively enjoyable story, Terry Fallis just seems like he's trying too hard. For example, when the protagonist goes out for coffee with his love interest, we are given their entire order. Perhaps it's just ultra-realistic, descriptive writing, but it comes across as Fallis saying, "Oooh. Look at me; I can name-drop items from the Starbucks menu." This was consistent throughout the story and, rather than adding to the narrative, it just rubbed me the wrong way. Additionally, for a na ...more
I adore this novel! Admittedly, I do have a bit of a predisposition towards Canadian politics, but whether or not that is true for all readers should not influence enjoyment of The Best Laid Plans. Fallis is an impressive writer, who employs humour and heart in equal measure, resulting in a story with a snappy pace, rich characters, and a stirring plot. I was especially taken with Fallis' inclusion of a letter from one character to his deceased partner at the end of each chapter, adding a second ...more
Forced, predictable humour, like a script read on CBC radio on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Ontario-centric and small-minded. The author assumes we are as engrossed with the petty twisted intrigue of our political circus as he is. He's wrong. Could not care less that Mackenzie King sat here - or there. And the characters - pure cartoon fabrication for the purposes of squeezing a cheap laugh from the uncritical reader. A hoary Scotsman, two PUNKY Petes, one grand Dame, a beauty, some slimey party hac ...more
This book was painful to get through. Its mediocre writing, childish jokes and predictable story line left me questioning how this book could possibly win the Stephen Leacock Award for humour. Don't waste your time on this one.
As I am a big fan of Stephen Leacock, I found this book very painful to read. I could only make it half way through and having read so many positive reviews, I was pushing hard to find something good here. While Leacock and others like Will Ferguson show wit and style in their stories, I found the humor in this book quite juvenile and ham-fisted. Maybe the author has a thing for potty humour but really, Cataclysmic farts? Maybe once, it's funny.
The characters were two dimensional, did not have
Sue Smith
I was a little worried when I picked this one up to read and discovered it was about Canadian politics. Any book on politics is enough to make me inwardly groan - fictional or non - there's something about politics that puts me into a coma.

Truthfully it's probably because I'm waaaaay to cynical and disillusioned. Too many promises and not enough to show for it all.... I dislike the inherent untruth to it all and it immediately sets my brain to numb and buzz so I can't take any of it in. *sigh* S
Daniel Addison is not having a good time of life. A speech writer for the Liberal leader, Daniel is burnt out and embittered after years of working on Parliament Hill. The final straw is when Daniel stumbles across his girlfriend engaged in sexual relations with the Liberal House Leader. In a series of events that can only happen in a novel, Daniel quits his job, finds a tenure track one teaching English at the University of Ottawa and moves out to Cumberland to live above a boat house.

The only
Nicole Yovanoff
It was a gift, so I read it and regretted it ever since. Now if you like books that have politics in it, DO NOT READ THIS BOOK. It is awful.

The worst political jokes ever make up with are in this book. It made me cringe at every turn.

The main character is in his mid-twenties, but its written as though the man was in his forties or fifties. Not to mention that the storyline was lame and predictable.

This book is so bad that I thought the publishing company must of lost a bet and was forced to publ
Jody Spencer
All politicians, and those aspiring to be politicians, should read this book and hopefully pick up a few tips. It's a witty novel that pokes fun at Canadian politics.
Linda Ostrom
A very enjoyable, satisfying read. A political aide wants out of government and to go into the teaching field. Before he is released however, he is forced to run a losing campaign in a riding that has been conservative "forever" and without any hope of every changing.

He makes a deal with another teacher/engineer, Angus, to run in the riding and he will take a teaching assignment that the older Angus wants to drop in exchange. There will be not problem because of there being no hope whatsoever of
Megan Baxter
I had a rocky start with this book. The author clearly knows politics, but much less about academia - or at least, current academia. The idea that the protagonist was approached about a tenure track appointment a couple of months before the book began, and that the position was still open, and there weren't a stack of CVs from people applying for that job, that the protagonist could just call his old prof and waltz into a tenure-track job? Well, I don't know what the academic job market used to ...more
3.75 stars

Daniel has left his job working for the Liberal Leader in the House of Commons, but has promised to find someone to run in the next election for the Liberal Party in the Cumberland-Prescott riding, where the PC candidate has served for years and is loved by all. The PCs have this riding locked up. So, after a lot of searching, Daniel convinces Angus McLintock, an engineering professor, who has absolutely no desire to be a politician, to simply put his name on the ballot for the Liberal
This book was recommended to me with some praise, but when I saw the premise and source my enthusiasm shrank a bit. Political satire about Canadian politics? Yeah... Winner of the 'Stephen Leacock Award for Humour'? I'll give it a shot, but I think Leacock's 100+ year old books are probably funnier than the contemporaries that get the award named for him. I've read Sunshine Sketches so I feel I'm qualified to make that completely unfounded judgment. However the publication of this book is defini ...more
Penny (Literary Hoarders)
I'm finished now and the rating still stands - maybe to 4.5 stars if I could....I'm sad to see my time with Angus end and I won't be reading about him any longer. Great ending!!

Okay, so I still have 60 odd pages left, but I'm going to stop and say that I did really enjoy this book. How I love Angus! My favourite parts were always when he would so lovingly write a diary to his late-wife. I can just picture a burly and curmudgeonly old Scot sitting himself at a desk writing faithfully to her each
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is a novel about an employee of a Canadian political party (Liberal) who decides to change careers and, for reasons that aren't at all clear, must fullfill a final duty before moving on to his new job as a professor at the University of Ottawa. He must find a candidate to run in a riding near Ottawa which the Conservative party has held forever, and the incumbent is a popular Minister of Finance. The story unfolds predictably - a loveable but bright recently widowed curmudgeon agrees to run ...more
My book shelves are by no means crowded with political satire, but this first foray turned out to be a good one.

I came away from reading this much more aware of the decay of the 'nation-first' attitude and also how important that attitude is. I can't think of a time when I have even considered putting the interest of the country ahead of my own. For me the government exists to further my self-interests, at least inasmuch as my self-interests do not interfere with the self-interests of others. Th
Daniel Addison is trying to escape from Capitol Hill. He has just caught his now ex-girlfriend in a compromising position with the Leader of the Opposition, the person he worked for. He needs to get out fast, but how? He finds his way out with an invitation by the University of Ottawa to teach in the English department and therefore can leave the Hill. Though upon advising of his resignation the Leader of the Opposition ropes him into one last duty; find someone to run against Eric Cameron, the ...more
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Best Laid Plans to be made into a TV series 2 22 Aug 16, 2013 11:03AM  
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Terry Fallis is the bestselling author of the comic novels The Best Laid Plans, and The High Road, and Up and Down. His debut novel (TBLP) was originally self-published in 2007 and won the 2008 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. Then McClelland & Stewart published TBLP in September 2008. He also won the Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards in the Regional Fiction - Canada East ca ...more
More about Terry Fallis...
The High Road Up and Down No Relation The Terry Fallis 3-Book Collection: The Best Laid Plans; The High Road; Up and Down Poles Apart

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“the use of profanity for effect to be a practice of the weak-minded” 6 likes
“one of the most famous split infinitives ... To boldly go” 6 likes
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