Why I Hate Canadians
(Douglas & McIntyre Ltd., Vancouver: 1997)
READ: July-September 2006
In this book, Will Ferguson (one of my favourite Canadian authors) takes a mostly-humorous, somewhat-serious look at what it means to be Canadian. Far from being a boring political study, he draws personal anecdotes and other strange stories, in an attempt to examine his own attachment or connection to "Canada" and "Canadianness".
Before continuing with my review, however, I feel obliged to mention, in the interests of full disclosure, that I read this book on the plane to, and immediately after arriving in, Japan, while Will Ferguson wrote this book pretty much immediately following his return to Canada after many years of living and teaching in Japan. That is to say, there might just be some weird alignment of the stars which caused me to enjoy this book. Or it is simply a good book. I still haven't figured out which.
Though he makes many sweeping generalizations about the whole mess we like to call "Canada", I found him to be, more often that not, fairly on the mark. Through his political musings and wanderings, Ferguson attempts to pin down why Canadians are what they are (what makes us tick) and also what personally keeps him going as a Canadian. In particular, I had a hearty laugh at his exposure of the Canadian Dream (success without risk) and the three Great Themes (keeping the Americans out, keeping the French in, and trying to get the Natives to somehow disappear).
Sometimes funny, often tongue-in-cheek, while it doesn't provide as many belly laughs as the other books I have read by him, I'd recommend this if you're into books about Us.