Best friends Lucy Stone and Martha McKenna are on a mission: to
teach sissy city men how to be men. Lucy, a biologist who sees the
dating scene in scientific terms, is alarmed to find her own
boyfriend, Adam, severely lacking in basic masculine skills on what
turns out to be a not-so-very romantic weekend in the country; he
can't build a fire, split wood, or jump-start a car --- and he's
even afraid of noises on a nighttime trip to the outhouse! The
weekend ends on an unhappy note, and with Lucy wondering if Adam is
the man for her after all.
Martha has endured her last bad date, which actually broke her will
to even try to find a guy, and has decided to concentrate on
contributing to womankind by making men in general more appealing.
She starts a business, FirstDate, which is a step in the right
direction, teaching men how to make a good impression on a first
date. Martha has a full schedule for her FirstDate service, and
they all need her help terribly: the guy who knocks her beer into
her lap twice, the date who knows more about hair products than
Martha does, and the guy who mentions his mother's womb.
In fact, these poor men need way more help than just one date's
worth. So Lucy and Martha come up with the idea of a camp men can
go to in order to learn how to act like men. Lucy's hunky farmer
friend, Cooper Tuckington, the model they wish all men could
achieve in terms of masculinity, volunteers his farm and his help.
Lucy, however, is appalled to discover electricity arcing between
Martha and Cooper. Cooper, after all, is her back-up husband,
according to a long-ago agreement between the two: if they reach a
certain age and have found no one to marry, they plan to tie the
Then again, what about Adam, who has many good qualities? Surely,
he can be taught to be a manly man --- or can he? Lucy tricks Adam
into believing he's one of the instructors at Man Camp, but in
reality he's there to learn from Cooper. If he finds out the truth,
how will that affect their relationship?
The Man Camp recruits accomplish various manly tasks, including
changing flat tires, carpentry, firearms, fence building, and
milking a cow. They watch movies in which the heroes are excellent
manly role models, and they eat hearty man-style meals cooked up by
Cooper's Southern belle mother, Beatrice.
Unfortunately, Beatrice has NOT taken a shine to Martha, who
returns the hostility. Adding to Martha's angst over Cooper, he
seems horribly distracted and her attempts to woo him appear to go
nowhere. Is he just not interested in Martha after all? Is his
mother's influence swaying him?
As a matter of fact, Cooper has a secret that is incredibly
distressing. When the campers discover what Cooper's problem is,
they hope to use their own skills to help him. Can the hapless
students actually pull together and save their instructor?
MAN CAMP is pure entertainment --- a witty and fun novel from the
intriguing beginning to the satisfying conclusion.
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on January 7, 2011