Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Booktalk: Boot Camp by Todd Strasser (Virginia Readers' Choice)

In our increasingly overweight country, boot camps are very popular: you join one to lose a few pounds and get in shape. Garrett, a teenager, is in a boot camp, but his is far different and has more in common with a prisoner-of-war camp. 

Like a prisoner of war, Garrett is there against his will: his parents enrolled him in it, he’s kept there under force, and the conditions are inhumane. Ironically, it’s called Lake Harmony: what a joke. Garrett’s been subjected to solitary confinement, grueling physical labor, and brainwashing techniques, most of which seem absolutely ineffective. Garrett’s parents felt his personal behavior was unacceptable, but does he deserve this hellish treatment? 

Garrett’s case doesn’t seem half as bad as that of Sarah: she’s been there for almost three years, and the camp has taken a real physical toll on her. When Garrett first meets her, she’s forced to wear a cardboard sign around her next which reads, “Two years and still pulling the same crap.” And then there’s Pauly, with his frail physical frame and his fanatical desire for escape. Boot Camp by Todd Strasser.

Boot Camp by Todd Strasser. 238 p.  Simon and Schuster, 2007. Booktalk to high school. Virginia Readers’ Choice, 2011-2012.

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