The Best Laid Plans and The High Road were laugh-out-loud funny (literally - I wouldn't have been able to read them in public places without causing a disturbance). And I may have mentioned in a previous post that I got to sit beside Terry Fallis for lunch at the Sleeping Giant Writers' Festival a few years back, and he is just as funny in person.
And so Up and Down is his latest offering. It isn't a sequel to the previous books in that it isn't to do with electoral politics. This time 'round, he takes on the world of PR. The opening line says it all. "Welcome to the dark side." The main character, David, has recently made the switch from working for the government taking care of the press for the Minister of State for Science and Technology (a real post in the Canadian cabinet), specifically liaising with the Canadian Space Agency (a real agency); to working for a private PR firm in Toronto. He gets thrown into the fray right from his first day on the job, and ends up heading up a program that will put the first Citizen Astronaut (rather than a professional astronaut) into space. One thing leads to another, and much hilarity ensues.
Like with his first two books, there is much humour to be found; as well as some over-the-top-improbable situations. But unlike his first two books, there is more emotional impact in this book. In his previous books, there was some poignancy with the inclusion of the relationship between Angus and his late wife. In this book, family dynamics are much more fleshed out in both David's family and in the family of Landon Percival, Canada's first Citizen Astronaut. This added much more punch to the story.
Things do wrap up very neatly in the end (much more neatly than they would in real life), but that is OK with me since the book isn't intended to be realistic in any way. It was an easy and enjoyable read, and I will continue to buy any book that Terry Fallis writes!