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Exploring The Best Laid Plans: Chapter 6


CBC Books is all about conversation and community, which is why we want to explore the Canada Reads 2011 champion, The Best Laid Plans, chapter by chapter. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we will release an audio version of one chapter (generously recorded and given to us by author Terry Fallis) as well as pose discussion questions. You can join the conversation by commenting on the blog posts right here on the Canada Reads site or by joining the discussion group for The Best Laid Plans in the CBC Books Community.


The set-up: Week two of the election race, and the campaign is rolling along as anticipated — that is, crushing defeat seems certain. Daniel and his team invade enemy territory by attending a speech to the local chamber of commerce by Tory opponent Eric Cameron, who's at the top of his game. The consolation prize for Daniel: getting to know Lindsay better, thanks to a post-meeting coffee.


The questions:

  1. Daniel refers to the Liberal campaign as "a high-road campaign with a focus on the issues." What are the indications that he's being tongue-in-cheek?
  2. How much do you think political campaigns rely for success on things like lawn signs, buttons and ads?
  3. Daniel praises Cameron's speech as a mixture of "substance, humour, self-deprecation, politics and drama." What are these qualities meant to convey about the candidate?
  4. Though Cameron is depicted as popular and supremely confident, Terry Fallis also includes several details that undermine this image. Can you give an example?
  5. When Daniel drops Lindsay off after their coffee, he comments that he avoided making "any major gaffes, provided you don't count shutting the car door on her foot." How does this kind of observation affect our impression of him?
  6. Daniel's proposed area of academic research is "Canadian comedic novels," which he calls "a relatively untouched area." What point is Terry Fallis making here?
  7. How does Angus's letter to his dead wife change our understanding of his behaviour with Daniel? What does it reveal about his personality?


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