A cute coming-of-age novel about a boy, a computer, a Playboy magazine and first love.
Billy and his awkward friends are in love with Vanna White, the girl-next-door who flips the letters on Wheel of Fortune. When some pictures of Vanna appear in Playboy, they know they have to get that magazine, at any cost.
One problem, none of them are even close to eighteen years old.
This was the moment of truth- the moment I’d rehearsed with Alf and Clark again and again. They’d coached me to keep my pitch exactly the same- to speak the words like I used them all the time: “Just some Tic Tacs,” I said, “And a Playboy.” pg 29
Part of this story is enjoying the humor and innocence of the boys in an era before the internet. The other part of this story, the one that occupied my book club, was reminiscing about technology and early computers.
We spent most of the time at book club talking about what our first computers were, who knew coding, and what were our favorite early games.
“If I was serious about Planet Will Software, I couldn’t work on a Commodore 64 much longer. Newer computers offered more memory and better graphics, and C64s would be obsolete in another year or two. I needed to upgrade to the latest technology, and the contest was my best chance to do it.” pg 43
That part of the evening seemed to entertain the older members of our book club more than me. It’s not that I didn’t have an early computer, I did, I was more interested in the coming-of-age part of this story and the heist-type scenarios the boys go through to get their dirty magazine.
I also enjoyed Billy’s struggles to understand Mary and the cute dynamic between them. I liked learning about his loyalty to his friends and his dreams for future computer programming greatness.
“I’m going to make video games,” I said. “I’m going to start my own company, and I’ll only hire cool people.” pg 81
If I ever start my own company, in whatever business sector that it may be (not computer programming), I’ll only hire cool people too.
Recommended for book clubs or if you just want a sweet, light read by the pool, The Impossible Fortress just may fit the bill.
Thanks for reading!