Mike Harris Made Me Eat My Dog, by Linwood Barclay

Eight stars

Long have I been a fan of Linwood Barclay and his collection of psychological thrillers, particularly because he is Canadian. Before he got into the world of thrillers, Barclay worked and wrote for newspapers in Ontario, using his wit and dry humour to impress many a reader. Those who did not live in Ontario in the mid-1990s would likely not have been privy to the wonders of Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution, when the Progressive Conservatives returned to power and sought to tighten the provincial belt. These measures did not go over well with many, including the media, who mocked some of the lame-brain ideas that did not make sense to anyone. Barclay explores the Harris revolution and the silliness that the Government of Ontario’s ideas meant in the real world through a series of chapters that drip with sarcasm. From cutting money to education (scrapping textbooks too) and trying to say that teachers were refusing to be inventive; offering tax breaks to many across the province and then trying to tackle a deficit (hoping that it would all work somehow); and even trying to nip environmental costs to safe a buck and wondering why Ontarians could not pick up the slack. Barclay’s mockery is just that, poking fun, but he makes some great points and leaves the reader interested in what there is to say on the topic. While I did not live in the province during the height of these tumultuous times, I always enjoy a good piece of political mockery. It’s surely a dated piece and one whose audience may be solely those who lived through or remembered the Common Sense Revolution, but I needed something lighter and it did the trick. Linwood Barclay shows that underneath that eerie writer would can pull a reader in with a stellar psychological thriller looms a man who is destined to poke a little fun at poor decisions by the government.

Kudos, Mr. Barclay, for a lighter look at politics. This book, paired with your more recent piece on Rob Ford, were the ideal short political satire pieces that kept me smiling.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons