Literature: I Want to Go Home!

A 1982 novel by Gordon Korman.

Mike Webster has been sent to summer camp as a "reward" for his good marks. A month of nothing but sports... It's like torture to the unathletic teenager. Fortunately for Mike, he quickly befriends the only other person in all of Camp Algonkian Island who would rather be somewhere else: a quiet loner named Rudy Miller. Rudy, or simply Miller! to the counselors, is a genius and a natural athlete, but has run into enough trouble at school that, in his own words, "The guidance counselors misguided my parents into guiding me here." Rudy is interested in one camp activity only—plotting to leave camp. Unfortunately, the counselors have other plans.

The book is a humorous take on prison break stories, as Rudy and Mike attempt increasingly elaborate escapes and the counselors enact increasingly desperate measures to keep the two in camp.

This book provides examples of:

  • The Ace: Rudy. Deconstructed, since everyone pushes him to do things he doesn't care about, and he's bored with winning all the time. His room at home is full of trophies that don't mean anything to him.
  • The Alcatraz
  • An Axe to Grind: In his letter home, Rudy claims Chip is a reformed axe murderer who keeps an axe under his pillow.
  • Brick Joke: The 1000 volleyballs that Rudy ordered for the camp eventually show up..
  • Butt Monkey: Harold Greene.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The beaver.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Rudy is the master of this trope; probably three quarters of his dialog consists of his rapier-sharp wit.
  • Exact Words: Whenever the camp counselors would announce an activity, Rudy would respond with, "I don't (insert activity here)." Chip finally has enough of this and tries to teach Rudy how to swim when they all go to the lake, only for Rudy to swim out against strong currents and pull a drowning boy to safety. Chip explodes at him, asking him why he said he couldn't swim if he obviously could, to which Rudy replies that he said he doesn't swim, not that he can't.
  • Failure Is the Only Option
  • Friendship Moment: Several.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Rudy is known to frequently stipulate, "If Mike can come too."
    • Pretty impressive that they manage to effortlessly pull this trope off, since they're only at camp together for a month (and the story itself takes place over the course of half that month).
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: Miller quickly notes that all the counselors have the same attitude, clothing, and facial expression, and dubs them "clones".
  • The Lancer: Mike to Rudy.
  • Loophole Abuse: Mike and Rudy use it to circumvent their promises of not running away.
  • Not So Stoic: Rudy, when he bursts out in uncontrollable laughter after the camp has been flooded.
  • Only Sane Man: Pierre is the only sane counsellor. He's also the only one who really understands Rudy.
  • Running Gag: Chip falling into the lake, Mr. Warden's speeches, doing bad things to Harold Greene. Camp Algonkian Island is considered one of these for inter-camp sporting events.
    • Don't forget the salute.
  • The Stoic: Rudy.
  • Shared Family Quirks: Rudy's younger brother, Jeffrey. (Rudy implies that he's been deliberately corrupting the kid.)
  • Smart People Play Chess: Rudy's talent for winning at everything extends to chess as well.
  • Summer Campy
  • Surrounded by Idiots: How Rudy feels most of the time.
  • Victory Is Boring: One of the many reasons Rudy dislikes sports is because he always wins at them. Always.
    • There's also the fact that when he finally has an opportunity to go home, he realizes that it'd be boring and elects to stay at camp, where he continues to make daily escape attempts.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: Rudy. It's why he never hides his talent at anything.

Alternative Title(s):

I Want To Go Home