Allen Stanfill ‘Camp Hell’ Review
Written by: Myra Gabor
Some people have great memories of summer camp and to some people the memories are nightmares. Bobby Sikes belongs to the nightmare group. His only memories of summer camp are those of being tortured by the camp counselors and the guys in the “jock” group. Bobby and his friends belong to the losers group, know it and are satisfied with it. They just wish the others would leave them alone.
Bobby tells his story to a stranger who has come to visit him. You see, Bobby has been in an insane asylum for the past fifteen years. He’s been accused of killing six adults and over thirty young kids during his last year at camp. The stranger comes back every day, which gives Bobby a chance to remember and relate what happened so long ago.
I can appreciate that Bobby takes over 50 pages to tell us about his last day at home before camp starts and the nightmares brought on, he thinks, by his hatred and fear of almost everyone at the camp, but l o n n n g sentences and exclamation points do not make for an engrossing story! Saying out loud that a laugh is creepy and sinister does not make it creepy and sinister! Even at Camp Hell! (Sorry about the exclamation points – just wanted to demonstrate how annoying they are).
Some words aren’t used correctly, such as “demise”. I’m sure the author meant “dismay” and “to” instead of “too”. It’s starting to be a common complaint with me – are there no editors or proofreaders who depend on what they read instead of a word check program?
This book is the first part of the story. Bobby is content to stay in the asylum. Not having to go outside means that the nightmares he had while in a waking trance can no longer get him. The story will be continued with Bobby knowing what he has to do to end his living in dread.
Note to the author: A story can be spun out over too many pages. This just detracts from the tension. Bobby will have to continue on without me.
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