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Summer Sleep-Away… An Unpolished MUST Read!

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We still have a few more weeks to bask in the peace and quiet before the kiddos come home and it’s time to sharpen our pencils for the upcoming school year.

Ugh!  I just twitched typing the words, school year; so let’s all take a collective deep breath, regroup for a moment and promise ourselves not to rush it!  Deal?

Okay, so back to the summer….

I’ve been savoring every minute of my Summer of Silver.  When I’m not feeding my TV addiction, or my overeating and drinking addiction, I’m catching up on my summer reading addiction!

I just finished Ofer Aronskind’s Summer Sleep-Away.

I loved it.

Have you read it yet?

If you haven’t, you gotta add it to your summer reading list.

You’re gonna love Mattie Kleinfeld!

I gotta tell you it took me less then two pages before I was sucked in and morphed back to my pre-pubescent unpolished self when I too, first left for sleep-away camp.

Mattie Kleinfeld is a young, twelve year old boy who goes off to experience the wonders of sleep-away camp in the Berkshires.  The tale is told from his unpolished perspective and Aronskind nails it when he perfectly references the mildew, lake scum, dirty towels, bunk raids, mudslides, the co-eds, the less than par food, wheel charts used for daily bunk-ordering chores, Intercamp games, slalom skiing, canteen, the morning mist over the glassy lake, deep water swim tests, free swim, the nature shack, overnight canoe trips, Frisbee-football, Capture the Flag, crackling campfires, s’mores, mosquito bites, red and white carnations that adorned the tables for Banquet night, counselors from England with their killer British accents, floating docks, Adirondack chairs, tetherball courts, hearing Reveille every morning, and of course the essence of adolescent camp memories……secret summer romances!

Shortly after the summer begins, Mattie finds a clue; a riddle so to speak, which leads him and his new camp buddies on an adventure.  This adventure, unbeknownst to Mattie ends up becoming so much more than just solving a few silly riddles!

Author Ofer Aronskind had me laughing and crying in this easy-reading, ever-so-relatable page turner and kept me wanting for more.  (Um, not to change the topic BUT…. check out Ofer’s picture below.  Can we talk about how cute he is?)

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“For the first time I felt like I was part of a group, an extended family.  I belonged.  I had friends and people who cared about me.”  page 75

“As I steered our canoe through the turbulent rapids I felt like I was burying those feelings of inadequacy forever.  With each stroke of my paddle I could feel another little piece of that shell crack off and break away.” page 125

“This was not the way I wanted to finish my summer.  It began with a lot of crying, turned into the best summer of my life and now was winding down with more crying. -page 141

“Kids who had been complete strangers to me just two months ago were now my closest friends.” page 156

I’ve written some previous blogs on that “universal feeling” sleep-away camp evokes in all of us.  The pure essence of what camp can do for a young boy or girl is pure magic.  I know this feeling is not just my own because Aronskind has written some of the very words I too have written as it relates to my personal experiences at sleep-away camp.

“There was magic in that moment, time seemed to have stopped, the movement of the earth appeared to have been suspended.  And I was grateful.  I never wanted that perfect moment to end….” page 157

“I wanted to stay in this one [world] where I had my friends, where I felt safe and happy; where I was the Mattie Kleinfeld that I liked (not the nerd I felt like back at home).” -page 172

“Breakfast was one giant cryfest that last morning.” -page 173

You wanna know what else was a cryfest?


I sat alone at Starbucks sobbing like a little baby as I finished this book that tugged at my unpolished heartstrings.  It brought back so many memories from my own magical summer-sleep-away-camp-home-away-from-home!

If you want to temporarily morph yourself into those childhood days or if you are unaware of the feelings that camp evokes but are curious to learn what the hoopla is all about, I urge you to read this best selling book, Summer Sleep-Away.  

Once you get bit by the bug juice, it’s impossible not to drink all the Kool-aid!

 When it comes to camp, you must trust me; I know what I’m talking about… much so that I’d even bet Color War on it!  

JUST TO LET YOU KNOW….  After you finish Summer Sleep-Away my guess is you’ll want more! Good news: there IS more! Check out Aronskind’s That Same Summer.


 Both books can be purchased on



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One response to “Summer Sleep-Away… An Unpolished MUST Read!

  1. I never went to sleep away camp. However, from some of the lines you quoted, I think that it sounds like I could still relate to many of the experiences. Thank you for sharing, Silver. <3

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