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Camp Camp: Where Fantasy Island Meets Lord of the Flies Hardcover – May 20, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
In his foreword, filmmaker Ivan Reitman writes, "Between the ages of seven and fifteen, going to summer camp was the most important influence in my life"; indeed, he launched his film career in 1979 with Meatballs, a movie inspired by his experiences at Camp White Pine in Haliburton, Ontario. In their latest, New York-based authors Bennett and Shell (co-creators of the similarly-themed Bar Mitzvah Disco) elicit more fond memories, photos, letters home and art projects from a long list of young writers, artists and entertainment industry pros, including Paul Feig, A.J. Jacobs, Rachel Sklar and David Wain. In a fitting scrap-book style, Bennett and Shell compile these communal camp memories, drawn from original interviews, and also include broader essays on chapter topics like "Camp Gastronomy," "Socials," "Camp Love" and "Visiting Day." Though most of the camps included here are in New York and Massachusetts, the subject matter of this colorful tribute-from Arrival Day to Last Night-will connect with anyone who looks back fondly on their camp experience (those who disliked camp, or never went, would probably do better renting Meatballs).
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“If your parents shipped you off in a yellow bus for six weeks of mystery meat and color wars, you’ll love the new Camp Camp.”
“Camp Camp is tapping into a larger yearning to revisit those days of cabin fever.”
“Remember camp? Remember the bunk beds, the counselors, the bugs? If not, Camp Camp, with its 300 photos, will certainly refresh your memory.”
“From two Bar Mitzvah Disco authors comes this collection of vintage summer-camp stories and photos that offer a nostalgic trip down wedgie lane.”
“This is the real stuff, going deeper than any VH1 '80s nostalgia trip or a squandered Saturday afternoon watching a cable rerun of ‘Meatballs,’”
“a hilarious, touching study of awkward adolescence.”
"Camp Camp serves as a kind of summer yearbook, collecting fond and not-so-fond memories of bunkmates, first kisses, tie-dye T-shirts and bug juice.”
–New York Daily News
“Some experiences define a generation - the Greatest Generation endured World War II; the assassination of JFK and Woodstock are milestones for baby boomers. Generation X’s seminal event? Summer camp.”
“There are two kinds of people: Those who adored summer camp and those who were completely, inconsolably miserable. Whichever type you were, Camp Camp will stir up powerful memories… Bunkhouse pranks, counselor worship, god-awful talent shows, summer crushes - they're all here, both hilarious and wince-worthy.”
“Camp Camp… compiles campers' memories from the 1980s and early '90s -- and hilarious photos documenting the era's most cringe-inducing fashions and big hair.”
–Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“Bennett and Shell celebrate coming-of-age in the rarefied world of short sheeting and atomic wedgies, which parents paid for in exchange for a couple of weeks of summertime quiet. Lots of pictures and vignettes that might make you laugh until you– well, like someone put your hand in warm water.”
–Raleigh News and Observer
Top customer reviews
Looking through this book everything that happened so long ago popped back into my head as if it were recent memory.
We had our cook, who smoked while stirring the huge pots of something. He was rumored to be a cop killer. His assistant looked like a Hells Angel, but much dirtier. They retained their jobs despite the random cases of food poisoning. Perhaps it was our abject fear of them.
The mid-summer septic tank "explosion". It forced the closure of 2 cabins and the double bunking of kids. Madness. The 'creek' flowed for the rest of the Summer. It may have been Mother Earth recoiling from our behavior.
The midnight swims after the campers were sound asleep, the stunning nights under the stars, being outdoors for 3 months. No TV, no iPods, no Walkmans, just the rare radio. Ahh.
Rumors kept us busier than middle-school girls. The whispers of trysts and the obvious romances, the commando raids into the kitchen to steal cigarettes, the cook and his mate teaching me the fine art of Bourbon drinking. That did wonders for my street cred. And, of course, the pranks pulled not on the campers but on each other.
Then came our education on the variety of backgrounds, characters, and families of our boys. All were under-privileged, most from broken homes, some with psychological deficits, that just baffled us, and the rest just dirt poor. One of my charges was a black youth from South East L.A. He couldn't read. So I would read letters that his mama wrote to him. I totally lost it when she taped a dime to one of her letters so that he had something to spend.
The saddest part was when the boys went home. I had the 12 & 13 year olds. It never failed, they all were bawling as they left. A surprising few continued to write letters to me for years.
This book's subtitle should have been the title, small quibble. I say this because the stunts we pulled or hazing that was inflicted, seemed to us unique. Now I learn they are universal. Oh man, the pranks. It is a wonder no one was seriously injured. One such activity was to raid the archery locker and shoot arrows at each other. Real arrows, real people targets. Wish I owned a camera back then. Better yet this book makes me wish that I had been a camper. Excellent book, die-laughing photos, and a great experience. Enjoy.
In sum it is a interesting book to flip thru, but might primarily appeal to a narrow audience and not the general public the way the newspaper reviews I read (that prompted me to buy it) imply. Had I known their previous book was "Bar Mitzvah Disco" I would have been prepared for a book predominantly about one segment of the population.
I find it hard to imagine that no one from these types of camps submitted anything and feel it's a slap in the face from the private camps.
They also spell Keene, NH wrong (Keane) repeatedly throughout the book. Lame spell-checker.