From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Wolk bids adieu to carefree living by returning one last time to summer camp before he gets married. In his account of his eight-week stint as a counselor at Camp Eastwind in Maine, he takes the reader on a romp through male adolescence, which, for Wolk, has retained an archetypal purity. Through the humor ("apoopeatersayswhat?"), the diving board games ("arrrgh, ya got me!"), the smell ("a mixture of feet, old olive loaf and an un–air-conditioned morgue"), he captures the essence of the male teenager with tender, wistful insight. The book evokes in the reader the same nostalgia for camp—and even adolescence—that Wolk feels as he anticipates his return to Eastwind. What propels the memoir, though, is Wolk's frank description of his own re-emerging insecurities inherent to his adolescent self. When he receives a tepid reception from the other counselors, for instance, he calls his fiancée and expresses his reservations about his plan, sounding like a homesick camper calling home. Then there is Mitch, the "action-sport junky" counselor from Wolk's youth, creating the perfect balance between tension and fun-loving innocence: Wolk's domination over his campers in backgammon just cannot compare to Mitch's speedboat rides. But Wolk undergoes a significant transformation, leaving behind his adolescent misconceptions about manhood and re-entering the world on his own terms. (June)
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A few months before his impending wedding, before the full weight of adulthood descended upon him, Entertainment Weekly senior writer Wolk realized he needed to take some time and get reacquainted with his younger self. He returned to the summer camp where he spent some of the best weeks of his life, both as a camper and as a counselor. A lighthearted take on the whole you-can't-go-home-again theme, his memoir is like the best bits of a whole bunch of summer-camp movies (remember Meatballs? or Indian Summer?) mixed together. Not that it's just a rehash of stuff you have seen before: Wolk puts a new spin on his perennial topic, observing camp life from the point of view of someone who knows what it was like 20 years ago and who is in the position to compare the boy he used to be with the man he is today. Sometimes poignant, but mostly just very funny, Wolk's reflections will get readers thinking about maybe, just maybe, taking one last plunge into childhood before it's too late. David Pitt
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