Title: Why I Hate Canadians
Author: Will Ferguson
Genre: History, Canada, Humour
Ferguson steps off the plane back onto his native soil of Canada, after years of being an expat in Japan, he is bedazzled, bewildered and bemused by his homeland. So he writes a book about. Several, actually. This is one of those gems.
Edition: Douglas & McIntyre, 2007, paperback, 336 pages.
Eaten Thru On: August 8, 2014
I was part of the same programme that took Ferguson to Japan. I stayed for one year, he stayed for an eternity. Big difference. But I felt some of the same sentiments he did whilst over there and as I stepped off the plane back onto Canadian soil. Albeit, I didn’t write a book about it, nor did I delve as deep into Canadian history and issues as he obsessively did in Japan, but Japan made me more Canadian than Canada did. So this book was relatable on that scale.
I also shared much of Ferguson’s opinions on the variety of issues that he touched in the book. I especially enjoyed his rant on Quebec separatism. It was delightful and we are very much on the same page.
This is the kind of history book I thoroughly enjoy and I dare anyone who likes history to differ. Ferguson combines facts with his honest and unwavering voice, and infuses it all with his sarcastic, good humour. He makes a strong case for Canadian history, rejecting the common perception that it is dull and short (aka. my perception up until I read this book). He entertains. He is brutally honest, and he makes you laugh. It is not a comprehensive history of Canada. It is a book on issues that he is passionate and vocal about. As we all know, someone who writes with passion, ends up with a well-written, hilarious, enthralling non-fiction. Or at least, that’s the Ferguson equation.
“Canada’s intense preoccupation with American reminds me of nothing so much as those old black-and-white 1940s flicks where the heroine beats her fists on the man’s chest, sobbing “I hate you, I hate you, I hate, I hate you,” only to collapse into his embrace. Let’s face it, America is sexy. It is exciting, dangerous, crass, brash and violent. The problem is not that America is screwing us daily –which they are– but that they never send flowers or call afterwards. They barely remember our name. “See you around, doll. Here,” as they toss us a coin, “buy yourself something nice.” It is intercourse without foreplay, when all we needed was a little respect. (Cue the sobbing, chest-beating litany of “I hate you’s.”)” Page 153
“Could Canadians have chosen a less inspiring emblem? The Russians have a bear, the Americans a bald eagle, the British a lion rampant–and Canada? Canada has a beaver…we got stuck with a 30-kilogram, bucktoothed rodent whose most heroic trait is that thinks to slap his tail to warn his buddies before he runs away…here is a creature that lives in Canada and does not have the good sense to hibernate during the winter. Instead, beavers stock up on branches and tree bark and huddle inside their lodges until Spring, when they reappear–fat as ever–blinking into the sunlight and stretching. Sound familiar? Just add bear and cable TV to the equation and you have the average Canadian approach to winter survival. ” Page 226
“Hyphens identify us: on the left is our private story, on the right side is our public story. Together they encompass who we are, and as a nation our point of contact lies in our common denominator. A Hungarian-Canadian and an Irish-Canadian share neither Hungary or Ireland. But they do share Canada. In any adjective-noun arrangement, the noun takes precedence, whether it be radical-Canadian, urban-Canadian, or Dutch-Canadian.” Page 284
I could go on. I could just put the entire book here, but that would contain its own legality issues which I don’t want to deal with now, or ever.
Final Verdict: 4.5/5 beavers
Recommended For: Anyone even slightly interested in the upmost North American continent or just anyone looking for some laughs and an honest read.
Next Target: Where’d You Go, Bernadette? By Maria Semple