behind-the-smile_thumb-1.png This article is more than 5 years old

BC Premier Christy Clark’s new biography is getting devastating book reviews

The Vancouver Sun calls Christy Clark: Behind the Smile an "uncritical look at the premier" and "not at all critical."


A Victorian poet once remarked that the true purpose of literary criticism is “to make the best that has been thought and known in the world current everywhere” so that we may all “live in an atmosphere of sweetness and light.”

By that standard, how does Christy Clark: Behind the Smile – the new “unauthorized” biography about BC Premier Christy Clark written by a former member of her own party – stack up with Western civilization’s other great works of literature?

Not good. Terrible, actually. At least if you believe what those snooty book critics have to say about it.

That might come as a surprise, seeing as the book’s cover even features a quote from former federal Liberal leader Bob Rae promising Christy Clark: Behind the Smile is a “must-read.”

But maybe you’re wondering: what would the cover of Christy Clark: Behind the Smile look like with real quotes from real book reviews?

The Vancouver Sun says Christy Clark: Behind the Smile is “a friendly biography of the premier” that is “clearly written” with “pages and pages of photos,” but also adds that the book “is not at all critical” of the premier. 


Meanwhile, Maclean’s magazine explores the book’s intriguing back story involving the relationship between Judi Tyabji, the author of Christy Clark: Behind the Smile, and the book’s subject: Christy Clark.

Macleans’ review of Christy Clark: Behind the Smile points out Clark and Tyabji “first met when the two were Young Liberals in the early 1980s,” a friendship that was strengthened after the author and her husband, former BC Liberal leader Gordon Wilson, received a $128,000 grant from Clark’s government, with $67,000 apparently going directly to her biographer.

“The biography was unauthorized,” the review says, but adds that “it’s not clear the premier will appreciate the help.”


That thread is also picked up by a review in The Georgia Straight, which details the unusual circumstances where the subject of a biography helped the biography’s author “get through some tough times.”


And over at The Tyee, another book review confronts the issue of authorial intent.

Suggesting Christy Clark: Behind the Smile includes instances where the author “cleanses” history, “relies on lengthy quotes from Clark herselfand supportive comments from her inner-circle” (some of whom currently face criminal charges) and “gives Clark plenty of space to expand on her oft-repeated soundbites,” the review says the “error-laced book reads like [a] promo in an election year.”


Well, who cares what those highbrow critics think, right?

Here’s what “George” from thinks about the Christy Clark: Behind the Smile:


Tough crowd. 

Photo: JON_CF. Used under Creative Commons license. Heritage House Books.

Help us protect Canadians by holding the powerful accountable.

Journalism is an important public service. That’s why PressProgress is prioritizing stories aimed at keeping Canadians safe and holding the powerful accountable during the coronavirus pandemic.

Please consider supporting our award-winning non-profit news organization so we can keep making a positive impact for Canadians.


Support Our Journalism
PressProgress is an award-winning non-profit news organization focused on uncovering and unpacking the news through original investigative and explanatory journalism.

Most Shared

thumb-2021-011-018 Analysis

BC RCMP Says It Deployed Snipers and Assault Teams Against Unarmed Indigenous Land Defenders Because It Was ‘More Practicable’

Related Stories


New Data Shows Ontario’s Minimum Wage Leaves Workers Up To $7 Per Hour Short on Costs of Living

View the post

Leaked Documents Show How Amazon’s Automated Systems Force Canadian Workers to Scan Boxes Faster or Face ‘Termination’

View the post

Big Property Company Tells Investors Its Business Strategy Focuses on ‘Essential Workers’ in Provinces Where There’s ‘No Rent Controls’

View the post


Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

The battle of the PACs in Calgary’s municipal election

View the post
Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

27 Different Candidates are Vying to be Calgary’s Mayor. Here Are the Biggest Issues at Stake.

View the post
Work & rights

Shanice Regis-Wilkins

How Labour Activists Pushed For Policies That Protect Workers and the Environment This Election

View the post