Cape Henry House

Fiction - Humor/Comedy
337 Pages
Reviewed on 07/06/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Cape Henry House is a work of fiction in the coming of age, interpersonal drama, and humorous fiction sub-genres, and was penned by author Jolly Walker Bittick. Intended for the general adult reading audience, the book’s central plot follows a group of sailors who take a house away from the base. Thinking that this home will be a chance to kick back, relax and have a few parties, what follows is a heartfelt exploration of the bonds which a group of common souls can make, and how those bonds see them off into a world of adventure when they are sent out into the real world.

Author Jolly Walker Bittick has crafted a magnificent work of interpersonal drama with plenty of laughs, pathos, realism, and camaraderie that will surely warm the hearts of those who read it. One of the features which I found particularly impressive about this piece was the attention to detail in character work and development, describing not only the roles of each sailor in their work capacity but also how the dynamics of their roles lead them to respect, laugh with and occasionally clash with one another, as well as the wider cast of the story. I also really enjoyed how the house almost became its own character within the plot as a symbol of togetherness, craziness, and the chaos of naval life. Overall, I would certainly recommend Cape Henry House to readers looking for accurate realistic fiction about contemporary naval life, books with a warm heart at their core, and for fans of enthused and accomplished dramatic writing.

Vincent Dublado

Jolly Walker Bittick’s Cape Henry House is like a military version of Jersey Shore but with far more substance. This is based on a true story narrated by former Petty officer Third Class Bosner. This coming-of-age novel takes a look at the rocky lifestyle inside and outside the navy. With the navy’s cutthroat routine and ridiculous working hours, unwinding becomes a much-anticipated recreation. Bosner’s friends are eager to have their own place off base. One day, two of Bosner’s shipmates and close friends come up with an idea. They are going to move into a place down the road from the base, off the highway by the airport—a place where they can do some grilling and chilling. Cheers to the new place that becomes their man-cave for boobs, booze, and ball!

One of the reasons why Cape Henry House is amusing is that it’s a real reflection of the funny side of life so that it becomes metaphysically crafty. These are young men in uniform serving their country with tedious tasks on their hands, trying to keep themselves sane, and the way they do it is to find an outlet where they can release their predisposition toward pleasure. There is something about military life that inspires humor—perhaps to contrast with the huge responsibility of serving their country in the interests of national security. Jolly Walker Bittick keeps it real. You will laugh because what he writes about rings true to the unadmitted hedonist inside you. Cape Henry House is the type of story that will make you laugh at the right things because the humor isn’t forced. And if these kids didn’t have to face the challenging realities of military life, none of the ways they reward themselves through pleasurable escape would make sense. Cape Henry House is a funny story, and you can have a lot of fun reading it.

Romuald Dzemo

Cape Henry House by Jolly Walker Bittick reminds me of my student days and the first three years when I started work, a story that is centered on the creativity around partying. The novel features a cast of interesting characters who love to party, strong coming-of-age themes, authentic and interesting characters, and a world that readers can relate to. Bosner is a man with memories of 2008 when he worked as a greaser on helicopters in the Navy. He works hard and parties harder and he and his friends meet occasionally at the Greenies for fun. His familiar circle is composed of Paul Blaine also known as B-man, Timothy “Zick” Madzik, Nathan Dolvar, and Johnny Kline. What this group needs is a party house and when Madzik and Dolvar move to Cape Henry Avenue, together with Mark and Anne Penley, the group finds an answer to their deepest craving. Bosner names the house Cape Henry House and the group of young men transforms it into a party venue, introducing all kinds of fun activities, including booze and women. But will Anne Penley put up with the raucous group and the mess they create in her home?

Hilarious and a fun read, Cape Henry House features characters who are eccentric and authentic at the same time. Think of one of the wildest team buildings you have attended, where everyone felt at home and was allowed to explore their wildest instincts, and you get an idea of the fun these characters create. The story is well-written and the prose is stellar. The author writes superbly in the first-person narrative voice, allowing the events as lived and observed by the protagonist to come across to readers with unalloyed clarity. Jolly Walker Bittick creates characters that are relatable, writes scenes that are focused and real, and creates a conflict that fits perfectly into the world of the characters. This novel is filled with humanity, realism, humor, and adventure.

Christian Sia

Cape Henry House by Jolly Walker Bittick is an engaging story that follows a set of quirky yet real characters as they indulge in their pastime and passion. They are characters who love to party. Bosner has been a greaser on helicopters, with long hours of work. But he is a fun-loving kind of guy who frequently meets with his friends to party, especially at the Greenies. Bosner and his friends, including Paul Blaine (the B-man), Nathan Dolvar, and Johnny Kline, need a good place to party and their quest leads them to Mark Penley and his wife, who have just the perfect answer when they offer a home at Cape Henry Avenue. Zick and Dolvar transform the house into a party place and it quickly becomes filled with beer and women and more. Follow this rag-tag group in their hilarious partying and other characters as they come onto the scene.

There is a lot of fun in this story and what will immediately amaze the reader is the author’s ability to keep the writing natural, the characters likeable, and the party going from page to page. While explosive moments are far and apart, Jolly Walker Bittick makes sure that the characters are realistic and that readers can see themselves in these characters. As I read, I could identify with the emotions of the characters. For instance, when Bosner says he reached the bathroom, and after taking care of business, looked into the mirror at the sink, I could remember moments when I have looked in the mirror and reprimanded myself for some blunder. The characters are a bunch of young people making the best of their free time to party. The writing is great and the first-person narrative voice is strong. There is a lot of interesting banter and well-crafted dialogues that convey the drama powerfully. Cape Henry House is a rollicking ride for anyone looking for creativity when it comes to partying and for a story filled with real characters.

Grant Leishman

Cape Henry House by Jolly Walker Bittick is a coming-of-age novel that explores principally the peculiar rites of passage of young males as they enter adulthood – primarily, partying, partying, partying, girls, and excessive drunkenness. Petty Officer Third Class Bosner is part of a Navy helicopter maintenance team that services ships’ helicopters from their shore base. Bosner’s shipmates and colleagues are a varied bunch that ranges in ages and maturity but most of them have one desire; to spend their free time together and partying. When one couple rents a house close to the base and invites two of the team to share their house, rent, and expenses, suddenly the crowd has somewhere to base their wild party activities. Cape Henry House follows the exploits of these young men as they explore the boundaries of adulthood and test the patience of the more mature, married, and settled members of their bunch of ne’er-do-wells. For these young men, some free from parental guidance for the first time in their lives, the work they do is critical to the success of their pilot colleagues but the partying they do and the friendships they forge are equally critical to the growth and development of their burgeoning adult lives.

If you’ve ever hankered for the days of your youth, your stupid recklessness, your living for the moment, then Cape Henry House will definitely appeal to you. Author Jolly Walker Bittick has based the story on real events and real people he no doubt experienced in his own Naval career. These young men definitely live to party and experience all that life has to offer them at this age. Equally important, though, is the importance of the job they do and the role they play in the overall efficient functioning of their branch of the Armed Forces. I particularly enjoyed the camaraderie that was plainly evident in every arc of the story. The background, ethnicity, status of the individuals involved was irrelevant to the group – what mattered was their personalities and their willingness to put the group before the individual. What did come shining through the narrative was the awkwardness and often recalcitrance to form lasting or meaningful relationships with members of the opposite sex. The almost “frat-boy” atmosphere of the entire scene makes the reader understand that, in many ways, the Armed Forces is in fact these men and women’s version of attending college. This is a frenetic journey down memory lane that I did find an interesting diversion from the serious worries of the day - an enjoyable change of pace for this reader.