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campie noun 1 a sober, celibate, bankrupt vegetarian who mops floors, cleans toilets, burns garbage, does laundry, makes beds and picks up after rig workers. 2 nickname for the camp attendant in an oil-rig camp. 3 the loneliest person in the oil fields.

When it all goes south, you can always go north

Bankrupt, homeless and with only an old Toyota Tercel to her name, Barbara Stewart has taken a job as a camp attendant at Trinidad 11, an oil-rig camp in the wilderness of northwestern Alberta. She was told it’s a “dry” camp—good news for a person hoping to stay sober—but she soon finds out this isn’t true. During the day, she mops floors, scrubs bathrooms, changes smelly beds and picks up empties. At night, as she burns garbage in the incinerator, she finds solace alone under the stars and tries to reconcile her past with an uncertain future. When she discovers that a campie who “doesn’t play doesn’t stay,” Barbara is forced to make a decision.

Campie is an entertaining, compelling account of how an ordinary person survives when things fall apart and there’s no “eat pray love” holiday to put them back together.

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