Chump Change


258 pages
ISBN 0-679-30810-5
DDC C813'.54





Reviewed by Thomas M.F. Gerry

Thomas M.F. Gerry is a professor of English at Laurentian University.


The success of this novel hinges on the extent to which its readers
sympathize with the first-person narrator and central character, David
Henry. Although adequate, the writing has none of the charming style
that sustains interest in a Bildungsroman of, say, Richler, van Herk, or
Munro. The book opens with the sentence “I am a failure,” and goes
on to demonstrate precisely that. David Henry uses people—especially
friendly women—for his selfish purposes, and messes up jobs while
proclaiming his superiority over co-workers.

The reader is also subjected to bouts of platitudinous social
commentary from its boorish narrator. At one point, he describes his
lengthy “shopping safaris”—expeditions conducted while on the
job—as “symptoms of my malaise; like the country itself ... I
consumed instead of produced.” Equally irksome are the speeches about
how awful it is working at the CBC. Tell it to the working people, Mr.



Eddie, David., “Chump Change,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 17, 2024,