The Heroic Adventures of Donny Coyote


350 pages
ISBN 1-55050-263-8
DDC C813'.54





Reviewed by Lynne Perras

Lynne Perras teaches communication arts at the University of Calgary.


Donny Coyote—part Don Quixote, part Forrest Gump—is a young man from
Moose Jaw who works at a recycling depot and has read and collected so
many comic books that he fancies himself a superhero. Because he is
developmen-tally delayed, he is befriended by Dr. Pearce, a retired
professor, and his daughter Diana. Donny and a hard-nosed co-worker,
Sandra, decide to travel to the United States and establish themselves
as crime fighters in the tradition of Batman and Robin, Superman, and
Wonder Woman.

Many adventures ensue. The shallowness of much of urban North American
society is highlighted, as most of the duo’s attempts to stop
corruption and violence are met with suspicion and are usually
unappreciated; in fact, the pair suffer much verbal and physical abuse
for their efforts. In some cases, this lack of appreciation is not
surprising since Donny and Sandra frequently perceive criminal activity
where none exists. For example, they mistake a convention of
optometrists for a group of rowdy bikers, and Donny is convinced at one
point that wind turbines are foreign spy paraphernalia. He also steals a
wash basin from an innocent couple because he believes that it is the
stolen helmet of the superhero Flash. Eventually, Donny and Sandra find
themselves in Las Vegas, where they must extricate themselves from yet
more trouble. It is up to Dr. Pearce and a colleague to rescue them and
to convince Donny, in particular, to go home.

This fast-paced, lively, hilarious, and often touching novel is a
welcome contribution to the field of Canadian humorous fiction. Mitchell
has a gift for creating convincing dialogue and colourful characters.
Donny is a misguided but lovable and soft-hearted protagonist, and even
the crude and self-centred Sandra is hard not to like. Donny’s search
for crime to fight turns into a search for himself as he realizes the
limitations of his dream. Happily, for both himself and the reader, he
refuses to compromise.


Mitchell, Ken., “The Heroic Adventures of Donny Coyote,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 20, 2024,