Swimming lessons are not popular at Camp Eastwind. In fact, the counselors have to be pretty slick with their presentations to convince the kids to go down to the lake. Swimming lessons may not be a favorite, but they are mandatory- so you can imagine the shock when the counselors hear a camper exclaim, “I love swimming lessons!” Swimming counselor Josh Wolk comments, “I didn’t remember slipping him a twenty, but I must have, because nobody in the history of this swim dock had ever uttered those words…” Thirty-four-year-old Josh is back at summer camp. With only three months to go before his wedding, Josh has decided to re-experience one last summer at the camp where 87
percent of his greatest memories were born.
For eight weeks, Josh will be living with a group of fourteen-year-old boys in
the Bears Cabin. He’ll be immersed in an environment of dining hall conversations like, “Can vegetarians drink bacon grease?”. He’ll be the target of the “What” joke and sleep in a bed that doesn’t fit anymore, looking up at fading signatures. There have been some readjustments and changes since 1988 when Josh was last at camp. Josh has to get used to seeing more female staff around and waking up to new and louder noises. Josh’s early camp stories come in handy, though. The campers are easily excited when Josh talks about the old days when riflery was offered and outside food was allowed. There are a few bumps on Josh’s eight-week-trip down memory lane. His conversations with his fiancée back home don’t go so smoothly, and Mitch is back at camp. Not only is Mitch back at camp, but he’s been assigned the Bears Cabin,
It's been awhile since summer meant something to Josh. But, by going back to camp, Josh gets to see a place that hasn’t changed too much, filled with boys he can relate to. The dances might be gone, the staff might look younger and the moths scarier, but the camp can still create great memories for everyone.
This book is funny. The boys are uninhibited, and the staff members are quite the characters. By chapter three, I had laughed quite a few times already. Two of the funniest people in the book are Rocco and Charlie. Rocco’s exaggerated stories and Charlie’s suggested camp modifications had me laughing out loud.
Josh Wolk lives in Brooklyn with his wife and child. He’s a senior writer at
Entertainment Weekly, and his work has appeared in many other publications, including
the New York Times and Sports Illustrated. In his book Cabin Pressure, you experience every part of camp. Wake up at 7 a.m. with the bugle. Go on the Cabin Trip, where there’s bridge-jumping and rope-swinging. Find out what Josh does for the Staff Talent Show (it involves nicknames). Read about how the games
of Backgammon and Snatch dominate Rest Time. Meet the visiting parents and fiancée. Learn the rule to get your mail, and the day you need to shower. In the end, wrap things up with the banquet awards, and the goodbyes.
He doesn’t say it, but I'll bet by the end of the summer, Josh bumped his 87
percent up to 90 percent. I give the book 100 percent.