Again the show (let’s call it what it is) began with a long series of introductions (16 minutes). This was another opportunity for the defenders to reemphasise their position and tell us what they feel Canada Reads is about.
The first debate focused on The Birth House and Unless, because The Best Laid Plans had sufficiently been mentioned in previous debates. Again, they discussed whether The Birth House is appealing to men. Lorne said that the novel is not historical enough for him. Georges felt that the way it deals with men would put them off reading. Debbie argued that it is about regaining our sense of community and that it is an inspirational story, something Ali agreed with, and he added that it is great storytelling. Sara just said she didn’t get as invested as with other novels. Doesn’t it sound like you have already heard these arguments? I wasn’t too impressed.
The debate then turned to Unless and feminist polemics. Lorne argued that times have not changed and women still need to be more involved in public life. Sara then pointed out that The Best Laid Plans also had a strong feminist storyline (was it the only new point brought out in today’s show?).
They proceeded to vote and, after a tie between Unless and The Birth House, Debbie, who had voted for The Best Laid Plans, was asked to make the decision as, according to the rules, the person who is not involved in the tie should break it. Do I need to tell you which book she chose? I don’t really see the logic in that rule. Shouldn’t someone external break the tie? Anyhow, Unless was eliminated and from then on the winner was obvious.
I’ll spare you the second part of the debate. The Best Laid Plans won, as many had anticipated. I have reviewed this book and find it entertaining, but I think that Unless and The Birth House have more literary merit.
Today’s show barely brought anything new to the discussion since the defenders kept reiterating the same arguments. The only element that made a bit of difference was the fact that the result of the public poll had drastically changed and Unless had become the favourite, when it was the one chosen to be eliminated first. Was that because of Lorne’s defense or just because the supporters of Essex County and The Bone Cage had lost interest?
Overall, I thought the discussion lacked depth and was too repetitive. It is aimed at a large audience, but I don’t see why it should be turned into a bookish X-factor. It has been great to discover books I wouldn’t have read otherwise, but I would have liked to feel a little bit more enlightened by the debates.