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The Best Laid Plans

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3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,040 Ratings  ·  805 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?
Kindle Edition
Published (first published August 22nd 2007)
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Mark
Aug 26, 2008 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Terry
Dec 08, 2008 Terry rated it it was amazing  ·  (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.
Jonathan
Aug 14, 2011 Jonathan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Joanne
Jul 07, 2011 Joanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Sue
Jan 11, 2013 Sue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Lorina Stephens
Mar 21, 2009 Lorina Stephens rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Shane
May 30, 2009 Shane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Scotchneat
Oct 19, 2009 Scotchneat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour
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
Bandit
Jan 14, 2016 Bandit rated it really liked it
For some reason decent genuinely humorous fiction is really tough to find. On that note most of what's being advertised in movie trailers as comedies don't really live up to the promise either. Why not try up north? This was funny (award winning so) in Canada and it actually works. A political satire about a highly unlikely (wild haired outspoken gruff flatulent hovercraft building Scot)Liberal candidate doing his best to subvert and revolutionize Canadian Parliament using such controversial and ...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.

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
(Peter)
Apr 09, 2012 (Peter) rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Karen
Nov 09, 2012 Karen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
RRJ
Jan 15, 2015 RRJ rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
An Odd1
Feb 03, 2014 An Odd1 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fun, fan
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
Matt
Nov 10, 2012 Matt rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Dubi Kanengisser
The blurb on the back on the book described how no literary agent wanted to publish this book, but the author managed to secure the adoration of the public nonetheless. Well, count me on the side of the literary agents for this one.
Of course, the back of the book also insisted this book was humourous, and 50 pages into the book I have still not seen any evidence of that. I did see ample evidence that the author (or at least the narrator) is full of himself, is unbearably verbose, and couldn't te
...more
Jenn
Feb 05, 2011 Jenn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, feministy
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
Nicole Yovanoff
Mar 17, 2016 Nicole Yovanoff rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 are found 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 pub
...more
Diane
Daniel is a political aide in Ottawa who quits just before an election call and moves to Cumberland to take up a position at the University of Ottawa. A nice, quiet life or so he thinks. But he has one last task for the Liberal party. Find a candidate to run in that riding, a riding that has never voted anything but Conservative. He finds someone at the last minute, a curmudgeonly Scottish engineering professor who is desperate to get out of teaching an English fo Engineers class. He makes a dea ...more
Sue Smith
Apr 28, 2011 Sue Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 14, 2011 Ubalstecha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cbc-radio-books
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
Keith
Apr 24, 2013 Keith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
David Yoon
Oct 21, 2015 David Yoon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book. It was warm and entirely Canadian. I know that sounds like faint praise but it fits. I read this in the lead up to the Canadian elections which proved perfect timing as well.

Daniel Addison is trying to escape the cynicism of Ottawa politics, not to mention a betrayal at the hands of his girlfriend. He ends up managing the campaign of an unlikely Liberal candidate with zero chance of being elected - so of course you know how that’s going to go.

The issues he has to deal with ar
...more
Jody Spencer
Feb 23, 2015 Jody Spencer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Megan Lane
Dec 28, 2015 Megan Lane rated it really liked it
Captivating

The book can be slow at times, but overall the story is very interesting. It's funny, witty, and you'll fall in love with the main characters. Great read!
Jamie Maltman
Mar 08, 2016 Jamie Maltman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jamie by: mark leslie
Was this the best Canadian political satire I've ever read? Yes! Was it the first? Maybe... but it got me to read it, and I got wrapped up in a really fun story, while playing with the intricacies of the political machines behind an election and the Canadian parliament.

Really enjoyed this one after a recommendation from Mark Leslie Lefebvre when he was a guest on the To Be Read Podcast, and hearing an interview with Terry on the Kobo podcast last year. Looking forward to reading more of his boo
...more
Megan Baxter
May 19, 2014 Megan Baxter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Terry Fallis is the award-winning author of five national bestsellers, including his latest, Poles Apart, all published by McClelland & Stewart. His debut novel, The Best Laid Plans, won the 2008 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour and was crowned the 2011 winner of CBC Canada Reads as the "essential Canadian novel of the decade." In January 2014, CBC aired a six-part television miniseries based ...more
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