Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Cape Breton

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Cape Breton (and everything else ever) – James FW Thompson

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Cape Breton (and everything else ever) is a new book written by James FW Thompson (Rise of The Mudmen), the man behind the Facebook page “Fictional Sydney Information”.  In this book, Thompson attempts to answer a cornucopia of questions such as:

“How Did Balls Creek Get Its Name?
“The reason for the rivalry between Sydney Academy and Riverview High School?”
“Where did the Tar Ponds Monster go when they filled the ponds in with cement and built a park?”
“How many Margarees are there?”

I have never laughed so much reading a book – full stop – and that’s not an exaggeration at all (even the table of contents is hilarious).  The chapter dealing with the naming of Balls Creek had me laughing so hard I was crying.  Thompson runs the gamut of topics focusing on our little island on Canada’s East Coast and in doing so, breaks them up into the following categories:

History
Landmarks/Geography
Mythology
People
Culture
Science
Politics

I did find myself wondering as I was reading if maybe you had to have grown up a Cape Bretoner to truly appreciate this book, so I picked out a few choice cuts to read aloud to my partner Alaina.  While we’ve been together nearly nine years, she’s from the Ottawa Valley and likely isn’t as familiar with the intricacies of Cape Breton institutions like the “grub mall” (aka the brown ski pants mall), but she laughed just as hard.

This book has the unenviable task of being released during a worldwide pandemic.  If I can laugh as hard as I did reading this book while the madness of the real world is taking place in the forefront of my mind, I can’t imagine a more enthusiastic recommendation from yours truly.

Full disclosure, while I paid for my own copy of this book, I have known James for nearly twenty years and would consider him a friend.

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