14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Well Worth Your Time, Nov 26 2011
It is a quite personal memoir, listing at least some of his major family difficulties and a few moments of inner turmoil. His failing eyesight is also detailed and the efforts he has made to deal with it. It is a interesting book and well-worth reading if you have any interest in politics or journalism.
Much of the book concerns the news stories and the newsmakers he covered and/or came to know personally. What I found most surprising was how many politicians and those involved in politics that he befriended and spent much time with. Although Mr. Oliver says it to be inevitable and common, it seems unnatural and improper, and he admits that he had difficulties at times with such arrangements.
Another oddity, on page 262, is when he writes of how many lobbyists were in the Paul Martin government and how calling the PMO to ask for certain person in the employ of the government he was transferred directly to the reception desk at a prominent lobbying firm.
My favourite quote from the book is likely the following;
"Unmediated news coverage today is ubiquitous and caveat emptor the consumer's only protection. Those of us in the serious-news business can only hope that the public will learn to distinguish between the real thing and the offerings of talk-show barkers, internet snake-oil salesmen, and political hacks."
Mr. Oliver has praise for most of the politicians he has worked with over the decades, although he also has makes some pointed remarks. He labelled some of the Conservative party advertisements of past elections "outright falsehoods."
Oliver's Twist is not a literary masterpiece and there are no great revelations included about public figures. However, I was impressed with Mr. Oliver's simple philosophies and his ability to tell the tale of his life in an engaging manner. I could relate, at least somewhat, to his love of canoeing in remote areas, although my own journeys have been of a far less exotic nature. The story of the near-drowning of Pierre Trudeau on a canoe trip in his later years was especially poignant.
If you find the title at all intriguing, Oliver's Twist will not disappoint you. I wouldn't label it a must-read, but it is certainly well worth your time.