Fakin' Eh!: How to Pretend to Be a Canadian.


224 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 978-0-9739116-3-3
DDC 971.002'07





Reviewed by Janet Arnett

Janet Arnett is the former campus manager of adult education at Ontario’s Georgian College. She is the author of Antiques and Collectibles: Starting Small, The Grange at Knock, and 673 Ways to Save Money.



In tongue-in-cheek mode, de Figueiredo circles around the essence of being Canadian, pretending to deliver lessons on how to appear to be Canadian for the benefit of Americans desiring to fake being one of us. And yes, there is a test.


He reviews the geography of each province and territory, desperately scrabbling for something funny to say about each before moving on to massacre our history and political system. The search for the uniquely Canadian—or at least non-American—extends to our vocabulary, place names, sports, religions, culture, the metric system, spelling, food, drink, money, and clothing. Not a stereotype is missed in the frantic plea for even a feeble smile. Multiculturalism, the Governor General, and the Separatist party are all good for a strained attempt at a laugh. Learning the language, he says, means saying “sorry” on all occasions.


Canada is presented as dull but relatively stable, with inhabitants who are polite on the surface but “mean, snide and condescending” when not in public. We’re known, apparently, for being patient, and also proud of our effort in the two World Wars. We love a double-double, a toque, and a two-four, and insist on sticking a u in “humour.” For which we’re sorry, eh?


Much of the text consists of exaggerations, sarcasm, and absurdities, promptly followed by a dismissive “not really.” Overall, the tone is one of trying too hard, with very little material stretched well past what even the legendary Canadian patience could tolerate. Sorry.


de Figueiredo, Dan., “Fakin' Eh!: How to Pretend to Be a Canadian.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 17, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/26728.