“This book is about my fifty-three-year relationship with Canada, one that, for me, continues to grow and deepen. We may not live in the same house, but I think about Canada every day, and my American friends wonder why I just don’t marry it already. I can’t. I looked into in.”
-Mike Myers (from Canada)
The first time I ever saw comedic actor and overly-enthusiastic Maple Leafs fan Mike Myers perform was on a short-lived CBC variety series called It’s Only Rock & Roll. It was where heavy metal fanatic Wayne Campbell and the avant-garde post-modern Dieter, later to become popular on Saturday Night Live, made their televised debuts. Myers made his name on the aforementioned NBC staple and went on to a film career of mixed results. Although talented, I always saw Myers as a poor-man’s Peter Sellers whose “first best destiny” (like that of Phil Hartman, Dana Carvey, Jon Lovitz, Victoria Jackson, Nora Dunn, Kevin Nealon, Jan Hooks and Dennis Miller) was to be on SNL. (In my opinion, ’86 to ’93 will always be the golden age of the “not ready for primetime players.”)
Now Mike Myers has written a quasi-life story/salute to the Great White North called, appropriately enough, Canada.
The book is separated into three sections called True, Patriot and Love, mixing Canadian history with the saga of his family’s arrival and life in their new country, and contains numerous personal family photographs as well as interesting patriotic images like Canadian Tire money and a page from the old Eaton’s catalogue.
Although I found the book a little too G.T.A.-centric, Canada is overall a well-written love letter to the G.W.N. and works as a popular history for the uninitiated (fellow Canadians may find it a little dull; there was nothing in the book I didn’t already know), but if you take away the pictures the book would probably be less than 100 pages long and has no real meat; often when there is a tinge of insight, Myers drops the subject and moves on, leaving the reader unsatisfied.
Which begs the question: Who is this book for? Americans would never read a book about Canada even if it had a topless picture of Pamela Anderson on each page (or Ryan Reynolds…whatever you’re into), and fans of Mike Myers will be disappointed with how thin the autobiographical aspects are; I would have preferred way more insider show business anecdotes. He doesn’t even mention his first wife, Robin Ruzan, to whom he was married for almost fourteen years!
Before reading Canada I erroneously thought that immigrants from the United Kingdom had it way easier than people from non-English-speaking countries, like my parents. As it turns out they also had a rough ride, and that is one of the more intriguing aspects of Mr. Myers’ book. I wish there was more about that, but again the subject is alluded to a few times, then frustratingly dropped.
For the most part I did enjoy reading Canada, especially for the nostalgia factor, and (as stated earlier) I can recommend it for someone who wants a beginner’s lesson on the land of moose and Mounties. Mike Myers has led an interesting life, and as a writer he is certainly not untalented. I hope eventually he sits down, like Martin Short and Andrea Martin, and gives us a solid memoir.