Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Cabin Pressure

By Josh Wolk

The true story of the summer Josh Wolk spent as a camp counselor at the beloved camp that he attended as a youngster.
Wolk was a successful man in his thirties and engaged to be married in the fall when he decided to spend the summer at the camp where he spent so many happy days as a youngster. Being a camp counselor is not a new experience for him, as he used to do it when he was younger. But it has been a long time since he worked as a counselor and he has some questions as to how he will fit in to the camp where most counselors are in their late teens and early twenties. Also, he will be away from his fiancee for the whole summer, as she has the chore of making all the wedding arrangements.
At first, he does feel a bit of an outsider, especially after hours when the counselors all gather to shoot the breeze and relax. He is kind of the "old man" of the group, although I think the differences that worry him are fairly superficial and that he having a hard time fitting in because he is so concerned about it.
Being with the kids is easier and he quickly gets into the swing of things with them, supervising his assigned cabin, leading his kids to their meals and making sure they perform their chores. He also is one of the swimming counselors and together they spend the summer teaching the sometimes reluctant boys how to swim with the goal that they earn their swimming certificates before leaving camp at the end of summer.
So Josh gets to relive his happy childhood days as a camper before settling down to marriage and having children of his own. And hopefully, his own children will get to enjoy the experience of summer camp in their own turn.

This was an okay story. It kind of dragged at times and didn't really grab my attention. It was an easy book to put down and walk away from and let sit for weeks at a time. I wish it had been a little more exciting, a little more dramatic. Perhaps part of the problem was that I have never been to summer camp and maybe those who have done so would be more involved in its depictions of camp life.
But despite its rather sedate tone, I still, mostly, enjoyed the book. Wolk seems like a really nice man, sincere and kind and he really loves summer camp. He also seems like he enjoys kids too.
After reading his memoir, I feel like I know a bit more about summer camp without the pain of actually attending it!

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