The Best Laid Plans
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The Best Laid Plans

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3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  4,837 ratings  ·  638 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 (first published August 22nd 2007)
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Mark
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...more
Sue
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
Joanne
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...more
Jonathan
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
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...more
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.

Terry
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.
Shane
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...more
An Odd1
On Feb 2014 CBC-TV mini-series conclusion, kilt marches down federal halls of power, force meets immovable, bodes well for sequel. terryfallis.com 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...more
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...more
Scotchneat
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...more
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...more
Ubalstecha
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...more
Jenn
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
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
LibraryCin
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...more
1.1
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...more
Phil
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...more
Heather
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
Steven Buechler
While elements of this book may seem humorous to the point of being ridiculous for some, many people who are bummed out by the political/social/media institutions of Canada will find a strong element of truth to it.

-From pg 61
"The Insanity, the surreal, the bizarre, had officially begun. I sat at my kitchen table, gargling orange juice and wondeing how I'd managed to put myself in this ludicrous position. I was running a phantom candidate, in a cash-strapped campaign we were sure to lose, aided...more
Keith
Massachusetts Congressman Tip O'Neill famously said, "all politics is local." This seems like a general truth yet one subject to several important exceptions. If true, what of the political novel? A Huffington Post article from 2011 recommends new political novels and leads the list with Jonathan Franzen's Freedom and Ian MacEwan's Saturday. Both fine novels but more concerned with the effects of politics on ordinary people. By political novel I mean a work focussed on politicians, on institutio...more
Mark Picketts
Funny, at parts really really funny and dripping of Canadiana - the book had me laughing out loud at various parts but the story didn't have me absolutely loving it. The main character didn't grab me but the older scot was good. I good book to read on a week's vacation.

A couple parts that grabbed me:
[when they are in power] they tend to erode public confidence in the democratic process and infect the electorate with the cynicism, self-interest, and opportunism that flow in their veins. In the m
...more
Blair Conrad
Not nearly as funny as people'd have you believe - I may have chuckled once. Many of the cast are more caricatures than characters, with the narrator's love interest not developed past us knowing that she has a nice smile (and nice jeans).
The story wasn't in the least believable, but in the end I at least wanted to follow along to see what craziness Fallis would come up with.

I had some other minor problems with the book, but the thing that really stuck in my craw was Fallis's seeming total unfam...more
Ruth Seeley
Hmmm. I've got nothing against satire, but I'm afraid this one just didn't go far enough. It seems to owe a lot to that rather strange Newfie movie called Rare Birds where one of the characters spends a lot of time working on his RSV (recreational submarine vehicle). The tension between plausible and implausible just isn't sufficiently maintained here. I don't think you can have a book that earnestly explains parliamentary rules of procedure on the one hand while asking you to suspend disbelief...more
Naomi
I love the humour, Fallis uses in this book! I didn't know anything about the book when I started but it made me laugh out loud, especially after our last election! Does it sound familiar when Angus Mc Lintock runs as the Liberal candidate just so he doesn't have to teach English to the first year engineers! Danile Addison has done his job to get someone to put his name down to run for the party against the Tory candidate who is also the finance minister and has won many times.
Will Angus get any...more
Knitography
I can see why Best Laid Plans won the Stephen Leacock award; it's genuinely funny with several laugh out loud moments. Those of us who follow Canadian politics will see the resemblance between the book's plot and recent real-life political events (although given the way the more things change, the more they stay the same in politics, the book may still be topical in 20 years).

On the other hand, there are times when the plot stretches the reader's ability to suspend disbelief. The bad guys are to...more
Ed
Recommended to me by a friend once he saw I was knee deep in the Canadian political scene, and frothing about it. This book was a wonderful tonic to my frothing discontent.

Fallis weaves a fantastic story that comes together with a delightfully dry, sharp wit... and a little dash of of the odd. He presents a wonderfully idealistic tale about the kind of politician we'd all like to see in Parliament -- and as a result, the kind of politician that other politicians dread. Though obviously political...more
Robin Spano
Fantastic, funny, and smart. I was hooked from the beginning. I was expecting a funny read skewering Canadian politics. I wasn't expecting such a soulful and interesting novel. I love books like this - where the pages turn quickly and I feel like my brain and emotions are awake simultaneously. I also love the bullshit-slicing perspective of the narrator - he loves what's great about Canadian politics, and he slaughters what's terrible about them.

Terry Fallis has a fabulous writerly voice - educa...more
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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

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“the use of profanity for effect to be a practice of the weak-minded” 6 likes
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