28 September 2010

Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Ladies' Man

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden:
A Study in Public Seduction
Michelle Le Grand and Allison Fay
Don Mills, ON: Greywood, 1972

It was ten years ago today that Pierre Trudeau died. Does he haunt us still? I suppose so, though his influence has diminished... as has the country's. Let's face it, the man never encountered a reception like this from last week:


I Never Promised You a Rose Garden is a sequel of sorts – "a study in public seduction" from the same publisher that four years earlier told us "how pierre elliott trudeau seduced canada with the lights on". Readers of Private Eye will be familiar with the content: a photo with wacky word balloon. This one looks like it could have come from the magazine's 18 December 1970 issue (cliquer pour agrandir).

You get the idea. The picture sets the theme, mixing politics with personality, casting Trudeau as Casanova.

The pseudonymous authors, apparently "two very political and disillusioned housewives", pitch some pretty varied attempts at humour. At times they venture into sensitive territory...

... before descending into jokes one would not dare make today.

There are no knee slappers here, though political types will be interested in the photos, most of which I've not seen elsewhere. Thumbing through the thing I caught myself ignoring the captions, returning in time to catch this:

Poignant and prophetic, n'est ce pas?

Object and Access: A 64-page staple-bound paperback. Ten copies sit on university library shelves, with a further two at Library and Archives Canada and the Toronto Public Library. A half-dozen copies are listed online at between US$4 and US$10. One Winnipeg bookseller has pulled away from the pack, asking US$25 (and adds US$12.25 shipping when three bucks will more than cover it).

Fuddle duddle.


  1. Was amazed to find this in a Toronto Salvation Army store as no idea it existed. For $1, couldn't resist despite the worse than "dad joke" quality so called humour, and political incorrectness of it all. Your review spot on and fun to find from someone I haven't seen in over 25 years

    1. They certainly are of their time, aren't they. You're reminding me that I have a third Greywood book packed away somewhere. In this one, John Diefenbaker gets the same treatment. Curiously, the title is ...now show me your belly-button!" I'm now thinking I've got to find it. Pierre Berton contributed an introduction.

      Has it been more than twenty-five years?