Book Review: King John of Canada

Unpatriotic words coming up… I am not a fan of CanLit; I can’t stand most of it. Show me a Margret Atwood book or a Margret Lawrence book and I will show you the trashcan where you can place them. Alice Munro, meh. I tried reading Farley Mowat in high school and found it a great way to cure insomnia. I am not saying all CanLit is bad but the stuff that was crammed down our throats in high school was enough to turn me off of it. Pretty much the only things I’d read from Canadian authors were political biographies and history books.

That was until I gave Scott Gardiner’s book, King John of Canada a read. It was recommended by a few people on Twitter and I mean come-on, if people will tweet about it, it must be good… right?

Right! This book was excellent. The theme, Canada throws out the monarchy and appoints a home-grown King, seemed a little out there; However Gardiner’s narrative is engaging and plausible enough to leave this reader question why we haven’t done so in real life.

Another thing I am not a fan of is flashback-type books. The style is very cliche. Your stereotypical old person reflecting on their life and their woes. Nope, not this book either. Yes the flashback is used but in a more conversational way, with the main character speaking to the reader.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I give this book a 4.5. It is well written, well thought out book that questions the status-quo norms of how Canada functions and our nonchalant patriotism. My only complaint is that the book wrapped up too quickly. I would have liked more stories about what changes King John made, or what other symbol of Canadian culture he elevated. The book ended with this reviewer thinking “didn’t see that coming”. I wont say more because I hate spoilers too.

A great book and a book that makes me want to investigate more CanLit authors.