The Survival Guide to British Columbia book review

How accurate is Ian Ferguson’s depiction of beautiful B.C?

Canadian author Ian Ferguson has written books on being a Canadian, on our newly re-elected leader Justin Trudeau, and on his own personal experiences living in one of the poorest communities in the country: Fort Vermilion.

This time, Ferguson has made a book for anyone encountering the beautiful province of British Columbia: The Survival Guide to British Columbia. In his satirical fashion, he’s created a guide to navigating not only the natural terrain of B.C. but the people within it.

The book is broken down into chapters which include our weather, politics, culture, and our questionable fashion choices. Who would have thought there was such a thing as too much flannel?

Whether it’s hippies vs. hipsters, tree huggers vs. loggers, and oil-field workers vs. pipeline protestors, nobody is safe from ridicule.

Overall, a lot of regions get teased, including Kamloops. Actually, especially Kamloops. Described as ‘a dystopian nightmare where dreams go to die,’ Ferguson singles out Kamloops multiple times. He says in the afterword that his reason for picking on our dystopian nightmare is because of our broad shoulders and resilience and that any ridicule is meant as a joke.

The Survival Guide touches on more serious subjects, such as the lack of reconciliation the province has done for the Indigenous population, and facts that shed light on BC’s accomplishments, such as being the most multicultural province in Canada.

Now, is this book based on an outsider’s perspective? Not exactly. Ferguson is a resident of British Columbia, currently living in Victoria. Therefore, it’s fair to say he isn’t laughing at us, but with us. And hopefully, we are all laughing.

For someone who has grown up in British Columbia, this book has nostalgic aspects to it, and teasing the things we know so well is what makes it a good read. Being able to relate to each other about embarrassing politicians, overpriced ferry trips and how living in Vancouver would break our bank accounts is something only those from our west coast home can understand.

The Survival Guide to British Columbia reminds us to lighten up, and whether that’s done by partaking in our legalized marijuana or not, that’s our British Columbian prerogative!

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