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How to Be a Canadian: Even If You Already Are One
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How to Be a Canadian: Even If You Already Are One

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  1,740 Ratings  ·  156 Reviews
A new format for the little book that has become a Canadian cultural icon, still a best-seller six years after its first publication.

When Margaret Atwood suggested Will Ferguson follow up his runaway best-seller Why I Hate Canadians with a "tongue-in-cheek guidebook for newcomers on how to be Canadian," Will thought it was a swell idea, and he quickly recruited his brother
Paperback, 276 pages
Published June 1st 2007 by Douglas McIntyre (first published August 1st 2003)
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Nov 07, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canada, reviewed
Funny, but trying too hard towards the end.

However, there are some great passages - like this one on Canadian fiction writing:

"Handy tip! Write about a family gathering, a funeral or some sort of homecoming. That's the easiest way to bring characters together without having to construct a plot. And make sure to include the free-spirited sister, the recovering alcoholic brother, the other sister (the one who gave up on her dreams and is married to an abusive and/or aloof man) and - last but not l
Colin Birge
Dec 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Things I learned from this book:

1. How Canadian Government Works. "It doesn't."
2. Screech. "The national drink of Newfoundland. Cheap rum. Cheap Jamaican rum. Wrathful, fire-breathing, eyeball-bleeding, down the hatch, sear-yer-gut and melt-yer-eyebrows Jamaican rotgut."
3. Saskatchewan: "Original name: Ksiskatchewanisipi. Are you serious? Yes. Why did they change it? Because they didn't want to have a name that was difficult to pronounce or spell. Are you kidding? No."
4. Curling. "A sport of
Sasha Gronsdahl
Feb 14, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Let's be real: this book is mostly a regurgitation of all the well-worn Canadian stereotypes that are becoming less and less relevant as Canada takes on a different character in the 21st century. I picked HtbaC up in my favourite thrift shop for about $4, and that was probably paying too much. I guffawed at the digs on BC and Victoria, but that was really it. The book is filled with cheap laughs, and since it was first published in 2001, many references and jokes are outdated. Topical humour has ...more
Matthew Lloyd
Dec 21, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Canadians
Recommended to Matthew by: A Canadian
The thing about How to be a Canadian is that it won't tell you how to be a Canadian, so much as it satirises Canadian identity for those who have it and know what it is. For those of us with limited knowledge of what it means to be Canadian, much of the book falls flat because I have no preconceptions about how Québécois drive, what the relationship between Edmonton and Calgary is, nor do I have any idea how the Canadian government works - so telling me "it doesn't" just falls flat. Especially a ...more
Sarah Sammis
Jun 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Canadians and Americans
Shelves: released
How to be a Canadian is a humorous look at all things Canadian. The book is short and broken up by topics covering thinks like Canadian English / Canadian French, the geography, history and so forth. The book was written by Canadians for Canadians but is also very funny for its quips about American culture.

The book is funny enough to read out loud. I read most of it to Ian. It's especially funny to us since Ian's brother and sister-in-law are now living in British Columbia.

Some of my favorite pi
Jan 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
A couple of years back we used this as a study book for our cultural studies, and that was a pretty hard thing to do. The style the book was written was funny in a number of ways, but things got problematic once you actually tried to get some proper information out of it; what struck you most strongly were the really fun parts, the ones where the writers poked and shook and made fun of "Canadians", as they put it. Due to the basic humorous mood of the book it was impossible to distinguish the tr ...more
Feb 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who is Canadian or who would like to be
Without a doubt this is a book that everyone should read, whether you are Canadian or not. The humour presented in this book is sure to put you on the floor laughing from beginning to end.

I have read this book numerous times and it never gets old. The references to Canadian culture, way of life and Canadian icons allows for any reader (Canadian or not) to make fun of Canadian culture and feel good about it.

This book was my first introduction to Will (and Ian) Ferguson and since I have taken the
A HILARIOUS introspection into who we are as a people....or at least who we think we are. I wonder what non-Canadians would think if they read this. While its based solely on some of our most cherished stereotypes, parts are indeed based in truth. There is a level of embarrassing honesty to the book that you can't help but laugh at.

And I did laugh. Every page was full of the funny, Ferguson style.
Daniel Kukwa
Jan 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Most of the time it makes me ACHE with laughter, and it's spot on about Canadian identity. That said, some of the book seems quaint and overly-nostalgic to me now...
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
5 🌟 just because this is the funniest book I read in a long time !
Apr 13, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the worst books I have read in a long time. No kidding. I don't understand why so many people give it four or five stars. Maybe because they are insiders and can follow the writers' line of thought. I can't. I'm not Canadian. I read this book because I wanted to find out something about Canadians and their culture. Sure, I knew it would be light entertainment. But this was lighter than light, this was tacky. It contained no proper or trustworthy information whatsoever. It wasn't e ...more
Eric B. Kennedy
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canada
I really wanted to like this book, but it just didn't work out that way. Don't get me wrong - there were some chortles and snickers, but as a whole, the book read more like a series of weak inside jokes and trying-too-hard than as clever commentary. Perhaps I was looking for more subtle, sly humour... but the book left me wanting. Wouldn't recommend unless you're well versed - and amused by - 90s stereotypes of what it means to be a Canuck.
Nov 08, 2012 rated it liked it
It's a funny, entertaining, and quick read. If you want something one step in maturity over HELLO magazine with the same entertainment value, then this book is for you. There are lots of references to current events in Canada from the late 1990s and early 2000. (The book was first published in 2001.) These references/allusions are now out-dated and if you didn't live in Canada during that period, a lot of the jokes will whizz over your head. I was living in Canada during that time and while I re ...more
Jan 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is titled How to be Canadian, but I am glad I didn't read it when I first moved to Canada. After living in Canada for a year, I picked up on a lot of the cultural quirks subconsciously. And it was lovely to actually read it in print. This book had me laughing out loud right from the first chapter! I especially loved the 12 ways to say Sorry. This book portrays the Canadian society in a voice that Canadians know best: sarcasm! Give it a read.
Shane Mackenzie
Jan 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think this is my favourite book on Canadian identity. It does not try to be anything nor does it take itself seriously at all. Will & Ian Ferguson keep me laughing and I adore the quiz in the back. I read it out to friends of mine and laugh when they don't get the cultural and historical references because they are too immersed in their own lifetime's events. Overall, a fantastic read and actually quite illuminating the Canadian condition without intending to do so.
May 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hilarious!!! I was laughing out loud at some of the antecdotes about Canadians and how we live. Written in a very witty, brilliant way.
Nov 26, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not as good, or as funny, as it should have been. Definitely a lot of truth to it, but kind of blah. And yes, I am Canadian, so I got nearly all the references and in jokes.
Now I know what it really takes to be a Canadian and I am proud to say I live up to it rather well! Well part of the time anyway. We have a great country and it doesn't greater than Tim Horton's and beer apparently and of course our true national sport of curling. Laughing at the landscape and the cultural references of my country has become a favorite past time. This is sure to help those that want to understand Canada and Canadians better or maybe even make you want to become one! Bob and Dou ...more
Mark Archibald
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first couple of chapters seemed more silly than funny, kind of like Royal Canadian Air Farce funny/unfunny. After this the book was sharp, biting, hilarious, silly and very entertaining. A few jokes and insights seemed to go a bit too far, but it made me wonder, "Am I being TOO Canadian by being offended by this section??" I learned a bit about Canada, and loved Canada even more than before reading the book. This was a very fun read.
Kirsten Arding
It was funny for a while and then just got annoying. I get the humour in it, which makes it a bit more Canadian (being Canadian myself) but I was hoping for some actual content. The entire thing just made fun of everything. To be fair, I read this 17 years after it was published so lots has changed.
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Canadians who like to laugh
I liked the book, laughed out loud to parts and had big smiles on my face at other times. Not a book to be read all in one sitting, rather a book to dip into every now and then.

It made me feel more of a Canadian again!
Piper Rose
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is filled with great humour and is easy to put down and pick up later without the need to re-read anything. You may learn something about Canada, or you may not, but there's bound to be something in this book to make you laugh!
It was light and a quick read and funny in spots. Not sure how I stumbled on it, but it was ... ok?
May 10, 2018 rated it did not like it
Outdated and trying too hard to be funny. I skimmed through most of it.
Degan Walters
Pretty funny, pretty dated and an extremely quick read.
Paul C. Stalder
Some jokes have not aged as well as others, but this is still an enjoyable romp across the country.
Jamie Bowen
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
As I can’t get to Canada at the moment, my relatives decided to send a bit of Canada to me, a selection of books, this being one. A good read, some proper laugh out loud moments.
Dot Hudson
Not my favourite
Thought it would be funny
Mar 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really funny books with lots of interesting things still. I didn't get all the jokes though, more for Canadians or people who know Canada really well.
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
Funny depiction of Canada and Canadians. After spending 11 years there, I can relate to most of them.
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Will Ferguson is an award-winning travel writer and novelist. His last work of fiction, 419, won the Scotiabank Giller Prize. He has won the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour a record-tying three times and has been nominated for both the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. His new novel, The Shoe on the Roof, will be released October 17, 2017. Visit him at ...more