Extraordinary Canadians: Stories From The Heart Of Our Nation by Peter Mansbridge with Mark Bulgutch

Extraordinary Canadians is a series of interviews written in the first person, so that reading it feels like each interviewee telling their own story to the reader. The authors names might sound familiar: Mansbridge is the former anchor of The National and Bulgutch was a producer at CBC.

I was curious about this book and requested it because as someone fairly new to Canada, I thought it would be interesting and that I might learn something. I thought it might be famous Canadians and historical people, but it’s something really special that I wasn’t expecting: everyday people who have done extraordinary things. And I loved that! It was so positive and uplifting, it was just what I needed to read lately.

There’s the guy who turned his depression after an accident into suicide prevention. A woman who lobbied to have the Famous Five (Canadian suffragettes) have a statue in their honour. A health care worker during Covid. A girl who made Ostomy no longer a taboo word. What I loved about this is that they’re so human. It’s not the story of lofty people doing big things. It’s the small stories of everyday heroism, where someone saw something that needed doing and did it, someone who experienced something traumatic and turned it into something beautiful and life affirming. I loved every one of these people.

I feel a bit emotional writing this. ha ha! This book made me feel like anyone can make a difference and that there are loads of wonderful people out there. There’s a lot going on in the world right now, and it can feel overwhelming. There’s a lot to worry about, a lot of uncertainty, and also stories of people being selfish. This was what I needed as an antidote to all of that. These are real people, everyday people, who have done great things. It really made me feel as I read each individual’s story, I wanted to hug so many of these people. I’m so glad that this book was about ordinary people (who are also extraordinary), who are alive today, from all walks of life, and took it’s down to earth tone.

Sometimes this book made me want to cry. But in a good way. The good stories in the world sometimes don’t get shown, while the bad stories get plenty of “air time”. I feel that maybe I’m not the intended target audience of this book, but I really liked it and I’m glad that I read it.

Read It If: probably mostly of interest to Canadian readers, or Canadiophiles (is that a word?), this is an uplifting and inspiring read about real people. I liked it a lot more than I expected to.

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for the Advance Copy of this book for review. All opinions are my own honest thoughts.

Extraordinary Canadians is out November 10.

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