From the review:
Like adolescence, too, the pieces in Fun Camp run a superlative range. Durham gives us moments of mind-blowing insight and moments of devastating heartbreak … it’s like a dark blue water balloon coming at you at nighttime.
And then instead of excerpting myself, I’m going to excerpt an interpretation Joe Riipi formed-and-sorta-abandoned while reading the book:
Here’s a long question, but I think an important one. On my first read, I thought of “fun camp” as an allegory for social networking. What struck me, especially in the first sections, was this phenomenon that occurs at camp (and, I think, in a lot of life) in which a person must create a kind of avatar of him or herself. There’s a piece toward the front called “Summer After Summer of Love” in which the voice is trying to reconcile the “this summer” self with a “past summer” self. There’s a key difference between a self at camp and a self in real life—a vacation, really—which made me think of the escape to “fun camp” in general as an escape onto the Internet. On Facebook and Twitter, people can choose to project an “ideal” of themselves, just like they can at camp. For instance, in telling how to perform publicly in a nightly skit, you write: “Act well, using method techniques like drawing from memories of some of the more intense emotional experiences you had in the last hour. Try to be complex and cathartic and redemptive.” Then there are notes of encouragement and compliments that campers publicly share with another along a clothesline—the “warm fuzzies” you call them—which are so much like posting on another’s Facebook wall or Tweeting “at” someone. Do you see the fun camp you created as a reflection of life as it is, how it should be, or how it shouldn’t?
Thanks, Joe, for putting the whole post together, and to HFR who has been awesome and recently published part of the book in a print issue.