Cape Henry House by Jolly Walker Bittick

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Cape Henry House by Jolly Walker Bittick

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: It's based on a true story about three weeks in 2008 when five friends, based ashore at a naval establishment in the US, take full advantage of the freedom of two of them having their own home. You can probably guess what happens: the reality might exceed your expectations!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 328 Date: April 2021
Publisher: Jolly Walker Bittick
ISBN: 978-1737030904

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Meet Bosner, or, to give him his full title, Petty Officer Third Class Bosner. We never really find out if he has a first name: there's merely a hint that he had the nickname 'Secretary' at one point. He's simply Bosner to one and all. When we first encounter him he's exploring his memories of 2008 when he was a greaser on helicopters (or helos, as they were called) at a naval establishment. The hours could be long and he was often working nights but at the age of twenty-one, there was always a way to work some fun (think drinking and eating) into his day.

The favourite spot for entertainment was Greenies: it wasn't great but it was close to the base and Bosner would meet up with his mates on a regular basis. They were an ill-assorted, rag-tag bunch. Paul Blaine was generally known as B-man: you'll hear a lot about him along with Timothy 'Zick' Madzik, Nathan Dolvar (who could be a nasty drunk) and Johnny Kline. What the group really needed was somewhere they could party and the solution seemed to be provided by Mark Penley and his wife, Anne. They moved into a house on Cape Henry Avenue, which Bosner would name Cape Henry House, and invited Zick and Dolvar to join them there. Anne Penley thought she was offering a home: Zick and Dolvar were acquiring a party venue. The next three weeks were going to be packed with kegs of beer, women and some rather dodgy party games. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, Anne Penley was going to realise that pretty quickly. It's her house which is getting wrecked. Zick and Dolvar made themselves - and their three friends - at home and worked on the principle that no day was wasted if they could party through some of it. They're lads in their early twenties, away from parental controls for probably the first time in their lives and with money in their pockets (A 'modest tip' in a bar is $50 for the group.). They're from varied parts of the US - and they feel free and unfettered. Bosner used to have a girlfriend - Maria Ortega - but she was twenty-two and (whisper it quietly) mature. It didn't last. The gang comes before the girlfriend!

There are some early signs of maturity among the lads. They like to get their work done well and quickly. They've got some dodges to make certain that happens. You can almost see the man they're going to become but right now the 'lad' still has the upper hand and the best food is hangover food. Their attitude to women is, er, unreconstructed and Bosner is happy to allow smoking in his car, Green Beater, when the lads start a flatulence competition.

There's laughter, a lot which mature people are best closing their eyes to, plenty of drama and the sort of camaraderie which lasts a lifetime. It's a good read and has remarkably little sexual content and none of it explicit. I'd like to thank the publisher for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

For another story of a man at a similar stage of life, we can recommend Remember to Breathe by Simon Pont.

You can read more about Jolly Walker Bittick here.

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