‘Anyway*’ tells a summer camp story like no other


(Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post)
July 10, 2012

“Anyway*”

by Arthur Salm. Ages 8 to 12.

Arthur Salm has written a story about a 12-year-old boy named Max who goes off to camp. That’s probably something a lot of KidsPost readers will do this summer. And we’re thinking that lots of you are good kids, just like Max.

But when Max arrives at camp, way up in the mountains, far away from home and everything he is used to, where nobody knows what kind of kid he is, he realizes he has a chance to be somebody completely different — so he becomes “Mad Max.”

This book, with its very funny footnotes, crazy adventures and discovering who you really are in your heart, captures the mood and pace of summertime.


Author Arthur Salm says his character Max is “way smarter and funnier” than he was as a boy. (Jeffrey Lamont Brown)

“Time slows down in the summer,” author Salm told us. “A lot can happen . . . or nothing much happens, which in a way is just as important. . . . [Max] and his new friends blow off most of the activities and just spend time together, hanging and talking and just being.”

So that got us wondering if, when Salm was a kid, he ever pulled a switcheroo like Max did. “No, but I sure wish I had, because — just like Max — I wasn’t very happy with who I was . . . with how I was. Max does something about it, though. He’s kind of like I was as a kid, but way smarter and funnier.”

This book will make you feel as though you’ve been to summer camp, even if you aren't going this summer. That’s because Salm was a veteran camper as a child. His favorite memory?

“After a week-long YMCA camp, a friend and I talked our parents into letting us stay for another session. The new group of kids didn’t arrive till the next day, so some counselors took the two of us along that night as they went out for burgers, then to a triple feature at a drive-in. Camp was great, but it was nothing compared to being a 10-year-old hanging out past midnight with incredibly cool teenage counselors.”

* Arthur Salm’s favorite book when he was a kid: “When I was 8 or 9, Milton Lesser’s ‘Earthbound.’ It inspired me to begin writing a ­science-fiction novel.”

— Tracy Grant

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