Toronto libraries inundated by demand for Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story

Crazy Town, by Toronto Star reporter Robyn Doolittle (Screengrab)

A new book that delves into the history of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, his rise to power and his troubles with drug addiction was released internationally on Monday, but anticipated nowhere more than Toronto itself.

Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story, by Toronto Star reporter Robyn Doolittle, went on sale on Monday and promises more details into the life of Rob Ford, including details that suggest his wife tried to get him into rehab as early as 2010.

Since the Toronto Star and Gawker reported on the existence of a video of Ford allegedly smoking crack cocaine, the scandal has grown, spun and evolved to the point of international prominence. American news outlets have covered the latest twists and turns as feverously as local outlets, and agencies as far as South Korea and Australia have also tuned in with great interest.

But no one has more invested in understanding what drives the Toronto mayor than Toronto. And somewhat ironically, that interest is best seen at the library.

The Toronto Public Library had received just shy of 500 hold requests for Crazy Town, before the book became available Monday afternoon.

Talk about demand. With that many requests, considering the library's 21-day borrowing policy, it would take 10,500 days (or more than 28 years) for everyone with a current hold request to get their hands on a single copy of Crazy Town. Thankfully for them, the Toronto Public Library has ordered 145 copies, which would cut the best-case waiting period down to about 72 days.

Considering Ford's history with the library system – including a failed bid to close locations and cut services, a family beef with author Margaret Atwood and a more recent attempt to remove security guards from libraries – it surely stings a bit for the embattled mayor to see the city service purchase that many copies of a book he surely wishes was never written.

If the Toronto Public Library purchased each book at face value (a bulk discount is likely) that could be as much as $4,350.

Crazy Town is a behind-the-scenes story of one of Canada's largest political scandals currently playing out in the public eye.

According to publisher Penguin Canada:

The Ford family has a long, unhappy history of substance abuse and criminal behaviour. Despite their troubles, they are also one of the most ambitious families in Canada. Those close to the Fords say they often compare themselves to the Kennedys and believe they were born to lead.

Those who have followed the Ford story may be familiar with most of the plot points, but the background is sure to be revelatory and there appear to be a few surprises contained within.

Doolittle discussed a number of key points during her media tour on Monday, including a claim that Ford's wife Renata sought drug counseling for Ford as far back as 2010.

According to Doolittle, Renata met with a former drug addict to seek help in convincing Ford to seek treatment. “He still thinks he’s going to party," Renata reportedly told the confidant, who recorded the meeting, according to the National Post. “He thinks that he, oh, you know, ‘I’ll get off the pills, but I’m not giving up the blow.’”

Other details coming out about the new book suggest Scott MacIntyre, now suing Ford for his alleged connection in a jail-house beating, spoke highly about the mayor when previously approached by Doolittle, and new details suggest a dysfunctional family dynamic before and after the death of father Doug Ford Sr.

Doolittle told CTV News on Monday that Ford Sr., a former Conservative MPP and businessman, was the driving force behind the family and a stern authority figure.

Doolittle's "jaw hit the floor" when he learned of an episode where Ford Sr. made his adult children take a polygraph test to discover who had stolen a cache of money he had hidden in the basement.

Those details and more in Crazy Town. Available through the Toronto Public Library, if you don’t mind a wait.

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