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Cabin Pressure: One Man's Desperate Attempt to Recapture His Youth as a Camp Counselor
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Cabin Pressure: One Man's Desperate Attempt to Recapture His Youth as a Camp Counselor

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  203 ratings  ·  55 reviews
What happens when a grown man returns to the site of his fondest childhood memories? A wry, clear-eyed, and laugh-out-loud look at the transition to adulthood

Three months before getting married at age thirty-four, Josh Wolk decides to treat himself to a "farewell to childhood" extravaganza: one last summer working at the beloved Maine boys' camp where he spent most of the

Hardcover, 288 pages
Published June 5th 2007 by Hachette Books (first published January 1st 2007)
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Welcome to Camp Nightmare by R.L. StineThe Curse of Camp Cold Lake by R.L. StineGhost Camp by R.L. StineWerewolves Don't Go to Summer Camp by Debbie DadeyThe Camp Fire Girls At Camp Keewaydin; Or, Down Paddles by Hildegard G. Frey
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Community Reviews

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Who has not been to summer camp, even if only for a day? And as an adult, who has not sat in his or her industrial beige/grey cubicle on a clear, beautiful summer day and wished they were once again that carefree youngster jumping into a frigid lake or pounding initials into a piece of leather?

Josh Wolk, a senior writer for Entertainment Weekly, decided to spend part of the summer before his wedding doing just that. He returned to his boyhood haunt as a counselor, hoping to find his boyhood bef
Julie Ehlers
I wanted to read this memoir because I used to read Josh Wolk's writing on and always found it hilarious. I figured the book would be just as hilarious, but unfortunately there were not nearly as many laughs as I was expecting. Still, it was entertaining enough and some of the depictions of the campers were truly touching, even if the whole thing felt like an extended visit to the boys' locker room.
Oh, summer camp...

"Since it was dark all around me, I didn't see any of them coming; I'd be in the middle of a chapter when a moth suddenly landed right on my sentence, and with a jolt I'd shake the book to make it flit off. I made it through about six pages and four regulation-sized moths when the most enormous mother moth appeared on my pages. In the 0.0003 seconds before I suppressed a scream and tossed the book on the floor, I think I saw it drag one of its legs across its own throat and the
Jason Blythe
After reading this book it makes me want to sing...

Hello Muddah,
Hello Fadduh.
Here I am at
Camp Granada.
Camp is very
And they say we'll have some fun if it stops raining.

Very enjoyable book. Never have gone to a camp for the summer it allowed me to live vicariously through the author.

Anybody that has been to a summer camp would sure enjoy this book.
Jun 23, 2015 Christy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: camp people
I've given this book the rare and elusive five-star rating because not only was it good, but I encountered it at the perfect time of my life.

A couple of weeks ago, while unemployed, broke, and nostalgic about my own camp days, I came across a job ad seeking resident camp counselors. I, too, am 34 years old and, after considering it for a couple of days, I decided not to spend my summer at camp. My last camp days were over a decade ago, and at least 30 pounds ago - and I think I crave privacy mo
Kathleen Kurlin
I picked this book up on a "used books" table. I'm a sucker for cheap books! After quickly scanning the book jacket I was looking forward to this being a novel about a man in his 30s returning to his old summer camp to try and recapture his youth the summer before he was to get married. Once I started reading -- I had to go back and read the book jacket from start to finish because I realized the book was not a fiction novel but an actual account of the authors return to summer camp to recapture ...more
This definitely had some laugh out loud moments, as I expected. I am a huge Josh Wolk fan from and his recaps there of AMAZING RACE are often better than the show itself. That being said, I think a) boys or b) people who went to camp might like it better than I did, since I am not a boy, nor a former camper.
what a disappointment. His article on entertainment weekly are so funny but this book was a bummer.
[Full Review]

This book was a much-needed breath of fresh air for me. I read a lot of heavy and blah books around this one and I needed to remember that books can be funny. My break from writing reviews and summaries was to put my headphones on, turn on Cabin Pressure, and take a walk to the park. I split it up over a long time and the relaxed feeling I got from picturing this Maine camp filled with hyper campers and sarcastic counselors kept me smiling throughout.

Josh’s fiancée, Christine, was m
Joaquin Garza
Para mí, hay pocas cosas tan estilísticamente perfectas como la de un campamento de verano. La sola idea del mismo conjuga imágenes de días soleados (o de danzas bajo la lluvia también), de los exteriores, de una camaradería supina y estólida (y a la vez perdurable), de la construcción del carácter y de habilidades impensables en el ambiente escolar, de olvidarse por un momento de los estereotipos ganados a pulso entre habituales compañeros de escuela, o de visiones de una formación de caballer ...more
This is one of those books where a 30-something, realizing he is now a "grown-up", has a panic attack and tries to relive his childhood. In this case, writer Josh Wolk, is getting married and entering the grown-up world at last. He decides that he wants to go back and be a camp counselor at his beloved childhood summer camp once before embarking on the adventure of being a grown-up. Being a writer, he has the flexiblity to take the summer and sign on as a camp counselor and so he goes back and d ...more
Jul 10, 2011 Kathy rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: audio
2.5 With such a very clever title, I thought this would be good to listen to on the way to the mountains, but there's a little too much swearing and stories of drinking so I just listened to it while I cleaned house and pictured myself jumping into a lake from a rope swing. I'm also reading Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal and it's funny how two stories that are so dissimilar can have enough things in common to make me ask myself, "Okay, which book am I ...more
Josh completely encapsulated the feelings of camp - the uneasiness of showing up (though I've never been a returner), the exasperation of dealing with the kids, the giddy joy of making a difference, the complete contentment of revelling in the atmosphere, and the total, devastating exhaustion and frustration you feel by the end of the summer.

This book was a great read. It's definitely suited more towards someone who's walked the walk, but even if you haven't, it goes by quickly and has you laugh
I think my favorite line in this book is, "Adolescents were able to come up with an endless supply of nonsensical dirty euphemisms because their creativity wasn't hindered by actual familiarity with breasts or vaginas." I'm not sure how well it works as the coming-of-middle-age story it's marketed as, but it's a fun trip to camp, which is what I was hoping for. As a bonus for somebody surrounded by girls most of her life, I also got a summer's worth of unfiltered for girl ears boy banter. Wouldn ...more
Quintin Reitzel
Funny, should be a movie.
This memoir tells the tale of a 40-year old man trying to reclaim his childhood, by becoming a counselor at his former childhood camp. I was hoping it would be a bit funnier, as this author is a former Entertainment Weekly writer. Instead, I found that he tried a little too hard in his attempts to bond with campers and other counselors. It was a good summer read, though. I've never been to camp but always wondered what it would be like, and this paints a great portrait of a carefree summer.
Feb 16, 2009 Emma added it
It's not necessarily Great Literature, and, though the tone is similar at times to some of Bryson's work, one doesn't learn as much as one does from Bryson. I did, however, laugh so hard I thought milk was going to come out of my nose. It may be just that I share the author's strange and seemingly irrelevant obsession with nostalgia and the things that cause it. It may be that I like reading a book that lets me eavesdrop on someone's life. In any case, I enjoyed it immensely.
I think I would have liked this book more if I: A) read Josh Wolk's columns in Entertainment magazine, or B) had gone to summer camp as a kid. Having done neither, this book was sort of a curiousity - without the backdrop of either A or B, it wasn't quite funny enough to keep me laughing, or poigniant enough to move me, although it had moments of each.
I returned this to the library after putting up with the first 2.5 discs. Any attempt to craft a wry Jean Shepherd-esque look back on camp and incipient adulthood was shattered by that perfect mix of navel-gazing and overprivileged whining that just made me want to kick the author in the shins. Sorry, Charlie.
I picked this up because I always wanted to go to a real summer camp--meaning by a lake and not religious. It was a good insight into the summers I always yearned for, but it did get tedious at times and I was easily distracted while reading it. Would have been much improved by cutting 100 or so pages.
This non-fiction book by a writer at one of my favorite magazines — Entertainment Weekly — is about the author's return to the summer camp of his youth as a thirty-four-year-old. It's a funny and interesting look at the things we cling to as we inch our way to maturity.
-Love the camper personalities he turns into characters in the book. I heard my friend Cade telling the story, with a similar wit, humor, and appreciation for the details in everyday camp life. Like camp? You'll love the book. Check out Wolk's website!
This was just ok.....I didn't finish it because I got bored with it. It almost seemed like a short story that got drawn out into a book. It holds true to the title but I thought it would be more fun and less serious about something that isn't serious at all.
Enjoyable book. Made me think back to my times at camp and how I'd like to relive those days. I feel like I have a lot in come with Josh Wolk, as we both don't like change and yearn for innocent childhood. Just what I needed to read at this time in my life.
May 14, 2008 Laura rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: former camp counselors
As a former camp counselor, I enjoyed the trip down memory lane. I could understand how the author felt. I loved camp, but I don't think I could go back. The book itself was slow. There wasn't anything that made me need to keep reading it.
I loved this book. I spent 5 weeks at sleepaway camp every summer when I was a kid, and I remember it fondly. This book made me remember many of the things I loved about camp. And I am a fan Wolk's writing style-- a really fun read.
I loved this book. Part of it is probably the fact that I really liked summer camp as a child so it fulfilled some sentimental need that I had, but beyond that I really enjoyed the mix of humor and poignancy that the author conveys.
The summary of the book sounded so promising. However, what I got was an uninteresting mish-mash of events. I couldn't get into this book at all. Pity, as the idea of it sounded so good and funny. It was neither.
Absolutely loved this book!! I would find myself laughing out loud and reading the passage to other people to share it. Just can't say enough how much I loved it! Poignant, funny, fast-paced - awesome!!
Beth Godfrey
engaging writer on a fun topic. eli and i kind of fantasize about running a summer camp. he makes me feel nostalgia for it even though i only went to camp a few times.
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