- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre; Trade PB edition (Sept. 1 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1550548913
- ISBN-13: 978-1550548914
- Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 1.9 x 23.5 cm
- Shipping Weight: 340 g
- Average Customer Review: 27 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #519,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
How to Be a Canadian (Even if You Already Are One) Paperback – Sep 1 2001
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How to be a Canadian. Don't worry: here, the phrase is not punctuated by the usual soul-searching question mark. Instead, the Ferguson brothers boldly assert that, since they have both been Canadian their whole lives, they are uniquely qualified to dissect Canadian society. Besides, Margaret Atwood told them to do this book, but that's another story.
As a guidebook, How to Be a Canadian contains "a wealth of information gathered from fact-filled articles that [the authors] sort of remember reading somewhere," but frankly, the facts are there as a framework for a wicked sense of humour. The jokes, which fill every page, are sometimes juvenile: "There are 30,000,000 people in Canada-- all of whom have, at some point, frozen their tongues to the side of a flagpole." They are sometimes pointedly amusing: "Often, when the UN needs a cereal box translated, they call in the Canadians, who parachute out of stealth bombers clutching boxes of Capitaine Crounche." And they are often laugh-out-loud, fall-out-of-bed funny: "There is the assumption that Canada has only two seasons: Winter and Not Winter...In fact, Canada has no fewer than six distinct seasons: Tax; Hockey; More Hockey; Still More Hockey; Summer (also known as the July Long Weekend); and finally Good God, Isn't the Hockey Season Over by Now?!"
Will and Ian Ferguson divide their guidebook into such useful sections as How to Find Canada on a Map; Canada: A Rich Tapestry (Who to Hate and Why); and my personal favourite, Twelve Ways to Say "I'm Sorry." Nothing defines the national character more than our "sorry," especially vis-a-vis the Americans. As the authors point out, "once you learn how to properly say 'I'm sorry,' you will no longer be trying to become Canadian, you will have rewired your brain to such a degree that you will actually be Canadian." For a true Canadian, the opportunities for saying "I'm sorry" are endless, but there is one uniquely Canadian "sorry": the one you use when someone else steps on your foot.
The book concludes with a quiz designed to evaluate your level of Canadianness. For example, if you hear the name "Elvis" and think of figure skating, you get 1 point. If you can't remember if you've ever curled or not, because of how drunk you were, you get 50 points. If you know the words to "Barrett's Privateers" but not the national anthem, you get 10 points. And so on. The perfect score is zero points; I'll let the Fergusons explain why: "So, you couldn't even be bothered to do the damn quiz. Too much effort, eh? You just skipped to the end. Talk about slack. Talk about lazy. Talk about Canadian! Congratulations. You are now one of us." --Marven Krug
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However, if like me, you love to revel in our differences, and laugh at our little idiosyncrasies, you will enjoy this, sometimes subtle, and sometimes very, in your face mock at the Canadian species.
Brothers Will and Ian Ferguson somehow get away with saying the most outrages things...
"If Canadians were porridge, Goldilocks would find us just right" In describing Canada's newest northern territory, Nunavut ..... "the world's most expensive guilt trip"
They describe the official emblem of Vancouver as an umbrella turned inside out. With an activist chained to it. Drinking a latte.
They give equal opportunity in their ridicule to all parts of the country.
They offer the "Twelve Ways to Say I'm Sorry"
The Ferguson Brothers, both comedy writers of other venues, have joined together to create this very funny, impertinent account of the Canadian life way. And it's good.
"How To Be A Canadian" conveniently packages our national heroes, cuisine, regional differences, literary endeavours, phobias, and odd social customs into a laugh-out-loud tome that is the literary equivalent of Timbits: tasty, bite-sized chapters on "Who To Hate and Why," "How To Waste Time Like A Canadian," "Mating Rituals," "Art and Stuff," "Progressive Conservatives, Responsible Government and Other Oxymorons," and "Twelve Ways To Say You're Sorry," along with how to insult Canadians, the official Canadian haircut and dress code (mullet, plaid shirt, skidoo boots with fake buckles), provincial "fact sheets" (Ontario: "Gaze Upon our Humble Magnificence and Bow Down Before Us!" Formal name: The Centre of the Universe. Provincial motto: "Celebrating over 100 years of narcissistic self-absorption") and more. To top it off the Ferguson brothers have written a clever little quiz at the end to test your Canadian knowledge (If you hear the name "Elvis" and immediately think of figure skating, give yourself one point. If you still don't know what the capital of New Brunswick is, give yourself 10 points. If you can't remember if you curled or not, because of how drunk you were: 50 points) You get the idea. Nothing is sacred for Will and Ian, which is what makes the book so funny.
So, if you're American and want to learn more about those mysterious neighbo(u)rs of yours to the north, this is the book for you. If you're a Canadian who needs a quick reply to "What makes a Canadian" (other than *not* being an American), this book is for you. I have bought "How to Be A Canadian" for a number of friends with different tastes and it's been a success all around. A funny, thoughtful book that hits the mark on all the issues and is certainly entertaining in the process (that's PROcess, not prahcess, eh?) Have fun, and good luck to any Future Canadians out there!
Forget the pretentious pontifications of Pierre Burton and Margaret Atwood, this book tells the real story of Canadian society in hilariously frank language.
Will Fergusons really has a talent for writing hilarious, iconoclastic Canadian literature. "Bastards and Boneheads" was clever, "Why I hate Canadians" was funny, yet rambling, but "How to Be Canadian" is truly hits the mark.
The book is written in a very fast-paced, self-referencing, Dave Barry-eque style, with footnotes, script-style conversations, and hilarious chapter titles. Unlike some of the other Ferguson works, this is a book that is 100% humor, and contains no hidden morals or agendas. It's giant in-joke that only true Canadians can get.
I think one of the best parts was the province-by-province synopsis, especially his description of Prince Edward Island as a repressive police state unwillingly subjected to the massive personality cult of Anne of Green Gables. His ill-fated attempt to describe Canadian sex is similarly hilarious.
This is a book that all Canadians should read.
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This was poorly written. The more I read the more outlandish is got.Read more