Ryersonian Book Club: Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story, by Robyn Doolittle


(Matt Oxman / The Ryersonian)

Title: Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story

Genre: Biography

Pages: 304

About the author: Robyn Doolittle is The Toronto Star’s city hall reporter. The Ryerson grad thought she was getting a demotion when her position changed at The Star, from crime reporting to reporting on City Hall. But soon, both of those worlds collided, and Doolittle found herself reporting on crimes surrounding city hall’s main man – Mayor Rob Ford. By investigating the mayor’s life, she’s risked her career and credibility to make his secret habits a matter of public interest.

Plot: Rob Ford’s troubles have engulfed the city of Toronto into constant controversy. Crazy Town explores the journey Ford took before reaching a new level of political notoriety in North America’s fourth largest city. Ford was a controversial political figure even before the Star broke the news of a video of Ford smoking crack cocaine. Doolittle explores the long, unhappy history of the Ford family, with accounts of substance abuse and criminal behaviour. Doolittle also offers an explanation of why the Ford family often compares themselves to the Kennedys.

Why you should read it: Doolittle offers an inside look at the story behind Rob Ford, which is engaging even if you’ve already followed her reports on the mayor. The book shares secret details that add further context into the confusing tale of the mayor who lost his way, and the city that found itself caught in a shocking scandal. Despite The Star’s deteriorating relationship with Ford, Doolittle also manages to retell the story in an unbiased nature, gracefully removing her personal opinions of character and questionable leadership.

This story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on March 12, 2014.

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