With a salacious title like Irving vs. Irving, people from across Atlantic Canada and elsewhere are almost certain to want to get their hands on the latest book focusing on New Brunswick’s always-secretive, always-controversial Irving families.
With his many years as a polished CBC reporter in New Brunswick, talented and award-winning author Jacques Poitras should have been the very guy to bring readers up-to-date on the Irvings’ increasingly pubic deepening controversies and divisions.
But for some reason, news-industry-insider Poitras has let his own obsession with the media, media people and newspapers, in particular, overwhelm his narrative. To be blunt, the tsunami of stories about newsmen and newspapers is too esoteric, boring and off-topic for any but a chosen few to care about. Even myself, as a one-time Irving newspaper reporter and one who knows personally or knows about these people and their newspapers, grew exhausted waiting for Irving vs. Irving to get to the point.
And there is a second problem with the book. There are simply way too many revisionist references to previous Irving books and newspaper headlines. By the time Poitras finally gets down to some of the more current Irving vs. Irving family twists and turns, readers might well wonder if they hadn’t already read the stories in the Saint John Telegraph Journal, in Gordon Pitts’ Globe and Mail columns or, more to the point, heard about them on the CBC television evening news for New Brunswick months ago.
Irving vs. Irving
by Jacques Poitras
$32.95, paperback, 352 pp.
Viking Canada, September 2014