Wednesday 2 December 2015

Book ~ "The Only Average Guy: Inside the Uncommon World of Rob Ford" (2015) John Filion

From Goodreads ~ The first book to go beyond the scandal and distraction of the world's most infamous local politician and reveal what drives Rob Ford and the many voters who steadfastly support him.

Eye-opening and at times frightening, "The Only Average Guy" cuts through the uproar that followed Ford everywhere. A journalist before entering politics, Filion peels back the layers of an extremely complicated man. Weaving together the personal and political stories, he explains how Ford's tragic weaknesses helped propel him to power before leading to his inevitable failure. Through Ford, the book also explains the growing North American phenomenon by which angry voters are attracted to outspoken candidates flaunting outrageous flaws.

For fifteen years, Toronto city councillor John Filion has had an uncommon relationship with Rob Ford. Sitting two seats away from the wildly unpredictable councillor from Etobicoke, who served as mayor from 2010 to 2014, Filion formed an unlikely camaraderie that allowed him to look beyond Rob's red-faced persona, seeing a boy still longing for the approval of his father, struggling with the impossible expectations of a family that fancied itself a political dynasty. 

Rob Ford was a councillor of Etobicoke from 2000 to 2010 and mayor of Toronto from 2010 to 2014.  He appealed to many because of his promises to save taxpayer and "stop the gravy train" and "Ford Nation" formed.  When Rob was mayor, his brother, Doug, was councillor of Etobicoke.  Together they were a united front.  I've never been a fan of either of the Fords ... I think they are lying arrogant bullies.

As Rob's alcohol and drug addictions took hold of him, having him as our mayor became an embarrassment to our city (it is North America’s fourth largest city and Canada’s sixth largest government) and he became a laughingstock around the world.

Rob spent less and less time at City Hall and more time on the missing list. He started showing up at events hammered and stoned. There were rumours that he was hanging out with drug dealers and murderers. When it was reported that there was a video of Ford doing coke, he denied its existence and proclaimed that he didn't do drugs. It was only when he was backed up against a wall that he admitted the truth ... that seemed to be the way he dealt with everything. Deny deny deny until proof comes out to show he was lying.

Eventually because he couldn't be kicked out of the office, the councillors voted to strip him of his powers so for his last year he was our mayor in name only. When yet another video surfaced of him in less-than-stellar behaviour, he said he was heading to rehab (he was only there for about a month).  He vowed to become elected again as mayor in the 2014 election but was forced to quit because it was discovered he had cancer and he needed to have it treated.  Instead he ran for his former position as councillor and won.

This book is written by Rob's fellow councillor, John Filion who spent 15 years working with him.  Filion interviewed more than 75 people (including Rob and Doug) to get the story on what Rob makes Rob who he is today.  He starts by telling about their parents, Doug Sr. and Diane, who seem to have only cared about prestige and it didn't sound like they gave their four children (Rob and Doug are the third and fourth children) praise or love.  Rob is dysfunctionally always trying to make his father proud, even though the man's been dead for many years.  Rob liked the idea of being mayor but didn't actually enjoy doing the work.  He has a short attention span and no filters.

This book gave a good insight on Rob Ford and his family. I enjoyed it ... it's an interesting read, especially for people living in Toronto.

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