Sunday, June 24, 2007

BOOK REVIEW: An Accidental Canadian: Reflections on my Home and (Not) Native Land

Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente writes this funny anecdotal book, which was chosen as a Heather’s Pick. I starting reading this book at Chapters and before I knew it I was on page 50. It’s hard to book a book down once you’re into it. Despite having many many books at home that I had already bought and planned to read, I bought it anyway.

Divided into thirteen chapters Margaret uses her way with words to capture the reader and bring the along the journey for the ride. The book was more of a memoir than I had anticipated, but I didn’t mind learning more about one of my favourite columnist.

She discusses what we hail as our national icons (PET, Margaret Atwood and hockey). Having a degree in English would compel her to write Atwood. Myself I would not have chosen two of these three (my picks would have been health care, hockey and anti-Americanism).

One of my favourite chapters is “Roughing it in the Bush, con Latte”. Here Margaret writes the Toronto/Urban affliction with having to escape to the land of wilderness. She talks about her experience of building a house in the wilderness with her husband and all the work, debt, and funny anecdotes that go along with it. I especially liked her proclamation of about being pro-SUV. She comments:

Call me criminal. But my neighbours don’t. They remember how we plucked them from the elements one stormy winter night on a remote country road. Their puny little car couldn’t make it up the hill…..Now they’ve got an SUV too….Contrary of what you may have read, SUV drivers are the opposite of vain, self-absorbed and arrogant. On the contrary. We’re plugged into Canada’s deepest values. Read Margaret Atwood: this country is all about survival…..And don’t tell me about high gas prices. (It’s funny that the people who want to ban gas guzzlers are the same people who demand price caps whenever gas goes over eighty cents).

She goes on and makes a point about these “guardians of public morality” for the next few pages. In sum I truly enjoyed this book and it was a delight to read!

Rating: 8/10


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