Book Review: The Complete Trailer Park Boys by Matthew Sibiga and Don Wininger

The Complete Trailer Park Boys is a book full of in-jokes and telling photos. It’s a book full of the joy and derangement of the show. It’s a book full of kitties and Coke-bottle eyeglasses. It’s a book full of subtitles: “How to Enjoy the Trailer Park Boys When Your Cable is Out!” and “The Official Sunnyvale Fan Guide” are splashed across the cover, along with the disclaimer: “Warning: contains language some may find @#$%ing offensive.”

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but they hadn’t seen The Complete Trailer Park Boys, published by Random House Canada, when they said that. You know exactly what you’re getting before you even crack open the book, from the mugs of Ricky (Robb Wells), Julian (John Paul Tremblay) and Bubbles (Mike Smith) staring out at you on the front, to the explanation of what’s inside the covers on the back – things like episode reviews of seasons one through six, character features, photos, and of course Trailer Park Boys-esque humour: “It’s okay, if you like book learnin’ ” is the glowing testimonial from Ricky on the back cover.

Sibiga and Wininger had access to the cast and producers, even got roles as extras in the show, but few behind-the-scenes peeks made it into the book. The episode reviews are straight descriptions, with no humour or cleverness except in the sidebar features that surround them, like the Rickyisms, best lines, and “nomesayins” – mangled quotes or trivia from the episode – and the “bad boys scale,” which uses icons and words to indicate the relative levels of booze, weed, and guns in each episode.

Now that season seven has begun, though, it’s already out of date. Which brings up the book’s main fault, and it’s a big one to me and I’d think to anyone with an Internet connection: this book is a fansite in print form. I’m all about the book learnin’, but it feels like a quaint relic, trying to hold on to something better suited to that new-fangled Internet medium. You could Google “Trailer Park Boys” and come up with websites with similar but ever-evolving content. The book has the advantage of glossy pages and prettier pictures, but the major disadvantage of being static.

Still, hardcore Trailer Park Boys fans will get a kick out of a book that’s so faithful to the spirit of the show, and if nothing else, it would make a good gift for the hard-to-buy-for fan. You can’t gift-wrap a website, after all. Though I wouldn’t put it past the boys to try.

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