A Tourist's Guide to GlengarryBook - 2002
Nine-year-old Neil McDonald has always wanted to write a book. Every time he tries, though, it comes out `like the Hardy Boys or something'. But when a maverick substitute teacher challenges him to record all the events and thoughts of a single day, the doors of creativity swing open. It helps that the day in question is, in Neil's words, `pretty weird'. The time is the fall of 1971; the setting is lsquo;North America's northernmost Metropolis'. The cast includes Neil, his best friend Keith and his gnome-like baba, a budding Black Power advocate, the heavy-smoking son of anti-war activists, and a very small boy wielding a very large axe in a public park. Neil thinks his day will climax with the broadcast of the first night game in World Series history, but what he's in for is something much deeper, a surprise that will teach him much about the world and his place in it. In the end, Neil has his book. And it's nothing at all like the Hardy Boys.
This book is a tribute to a real neighbourhood at a special point in time -- working class north Edmonton on the cusp of the oil boom. McGillis has drawn partly on figures from his own late 60s, early 70s childhood, including a maverick substitute teacher with a predilection for Eastern philosophy, a nine-year-old champion of civil rights, a chain-smoking ten-year-old son of anti-war radicals and baseball immortal Roberto Clemente.