Councillor John Filion to Release Book About Rob Ford
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Councillor John Filion to Release Book About Rob Ford

Pretty much everyone has a Rob Ford book deal.

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A year after a tumultuous election that saw Rob Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North) return to city hall as a councillor, a council colleague will release a book about Toronto’s world-famous former mayor.

Councillor John Filion (Ward 23, Willowdale)—a Toronto Star journalist before entering politics in the 1980s—will release the book The Only Average Guy: The Uncommon World of Rob Ford on Oct. 27, the anniversary of the 2014 mayoral election. Published by Random House, Filion’s book promises to be a “penetrating look at the man everybody watched but no one could see.”

And the longtime and soft-spoken councillor is in a good position to offer that perspective.

Despite not sharing the same political outlook, Filion has been closer with Ford than most other councillors. They participated in the same city-hall football pool, which Ford famously cares about greatly and loses frequently.

In the latter part of Ford’s term as mayor, Filion started his book project and conducted “more than one hundred interviews,” as per the Random House press release. (Disclosure: I was one of those interviews.) After Ford was considered a national embarrassment by many, Filion was one of the few politicians to attend Ford Fest, ostensibly to better understand the former mayor’s appeal. He also went to sports games with Ford to get a more intimate look at the man.

Filion’s book is neither the first nor the last about Toronto’s most famous mayor. Ivor Tossell wrote the e-book The Gift of Ford, Edward Keenan wrote Some Great Idea, and Robyn Doolittle wrote Crazy Town. There have also been various anthology collections.

More titles are in the offing. Just two weeks after Filion’s book, Ford’s former chief of staff, Mark Towhey, will release his own Ford book. Originally slated to be released before last year’s election, Uncontrollable: How I Tried to Help the World’s Most Notorious Mayor promises a look behind the scenes.

Longtime Sun columnist Sue-Ann Levy will release a 2016 book that looks to be more of a memoir, but will doubtlessly touch on Ford as well. Either titled Scoop or Underdog, with the subtitle Confessions of a Right-Wing Gay Jewish Muckraker, Levy’s book is scheduled to be released in June 2016.

And local flâneur Shawn Micallef, who has written books about psychogeography, a class analysis of brunch, and Toronto architecture, will likely offer a different take than Levy. His forthcoming book When the Circus Comes to Town: Toronto and the Growing Pains of a City on the Verge of Greatness does not yet have a release date.

It’s probably a good thing we didn’t close down all those libraries, because where would all these books go?

For no reason, here’s a photo of John Filion with his old band. He’s in the back row at the center of the photo, in striped pants.