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The Best Laid Plans

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3.88  ·  Rating details ·  8,594 Ratings  ·  913 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?
Paperback, 314 pages
Published September 5th 2008 by McClelland & Stewart (first published August 22nd 2007)
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Terry
Dec 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I'll not ramble on here about my own book beyond saying that I hope those who read it enjoy it.
Megan Baxter
Aug 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Mark
Aug 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Jonathan
Aug 14, 2011 rated it did not like 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
Sue
Jan 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 18, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Jennifer
Sep 16, 2011 rated it liked it
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
(Peter)
Apr 09, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
Scotchneat
Oct 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
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.

Karen
Nov 09, 2012 rated it did not like it
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.
Amanda McGill
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club, 2018
I enjoyed the characters, the humour and that the novel was set in Canada, but I'm not a fan of politics, so reading about politics wasn't too enjoyable.
Bandit
Jan 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Allison
Jun 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017-bingo, audio
Extremely silly on so, so many levels.

But entertaining.

I enjoyed all the Ottawa/Canada references that I know well. If you simply need a mental vacation, this could be it.
An Odd1
Oct 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Dawn
I'm not sure how appealing this book will be to anyone who does not know Canada, Canadians or the Canadian political scene but I found it hilarious.

With a funny euphemism laced sex scene, for example: "Rachel, my Rachel, was on her knees in front of the Opposition House Leader. Let's just say she was rather enthusiastically lobbying his caucus." and digs at architecture "Built in 1952, it had an utterly forgettable but, I suppose, practical architecture of that era - early Canadian ugly.", mode
...more
RRJ
Jan 15, 2015 rated it did not like it
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
Matt
Jan 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 20, 2016 rated it did not like it
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 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 18, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
1.1
Jun 21, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Ubalstecha
Mar 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Sue Smith
Apr 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Diane
Jan 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-books, canlit
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
Ed
Jun 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Knitography
Feb 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-canadian
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
David Yoon
Oct 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
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@yycbookclub: First meeting of @yycbookclub 6 22 Oct 26, 2015 07:45PM  
Best Laid Plans to be made into a TV series 2 25 Aug 16, 2013 11:03AM  
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Terry Fallis is the award-winning author of six national bestsellers, including his latest, One Brother Shy, all published by McClelland & Stewart (Penguin Random House). 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 te ...more

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“the use of profanity for effect to be a practice of the weak-minded” 7 likes
“one of the most famous split infinitives ... To boldly go” 7 likes
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