CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Don Harron.

Toronto, Macmillan, c1982.
128pp, cloth, $12.95.
ISBN 0-7715-9722-3.

Reviewed by Jim Delaney.

Volume 11 Number 2.
1983 March.

Listening to Charlie in person is effortless fun, but reading him requires a little more work. You have to be able to make sense out of countless misspellings and innumerable puns, not a difficult task when the events are current, as they are in his radio spots and his Hee Haw appearances, but definitely a challenge to a reader's fading memory of news events from the past ten years. Charlie's presence too—his appearance, his whooping laugh-lightens the comedy and softens the commentary. In print, a more serious Charlie emerges, so that the closing pages of this book are almost sombre in tone.

Charlie in print fumbles his words like the old Charlie, but he is an even more astute observer of the political scene. He implies, for example, that political influence was brought to bear on the Quebec court that lightly dismissed the charges against Levesque in the premier's 1977 traffic fatality case:

         "He got fine tho'—fifty doller fer not
         waring glasses. My gol, who needs
         glasses wen you got contacks like

Anita Bryant, says Charlie, had no place criticizing homosexuals, adding that molesters of children are usually married men with children of their own. Charlie's most serious criticism, though, is reserved for Pee Air (Trudeau) who, he claims, has no "enemapathy fer peeples that is homeless." It is not a bitter attack, but more like a statement from a sad-faced clown.

Charlie's final statements deal with acid rain and with the Bomb, when he hints at the approach of Apocalypse. "Yer last decadent," indeed.

The interlacing of humour with serious content makes for some telling commentary. And there are many, many moments of sheer fun. No one should miss Charlie's review of Marian Engel's book, Bear, which is a marvellous laugh.

Jim Delaney, Msgr. Pereyma School, Oshawa, ON.
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