Memories of an Australian Childhood
The Kids from S.N.O.O.P interweaves personal memories of growing up in inner suburban Melbourne in the 1960s with the fictional adventures of three aspiring young detectives in their quest for mysteries to solve.
The Kids from S.N.O.O.P has been a lovely excuse for me to revisit people, neighbourhoods, school, customs, fashions and foods from the past, as well as particular memories.
I recall the 1960s as an era when children's external possibilities for entertainment were much more limited than today, yet in many respects we were freer to play, invent and explore on our own in ways which would be unthinkable nowadays.
The storyline reflects that contradiction: Rache, Suzi and Tom dispose of seemingly endless and countless days to play at being detectives, and although their means and scope are limited, their imaginations have free rein. All the same, their peaceful, ordinary environment frustrates them time and again: where are the crimes they are so keen to solve?
A few incongruous elements creep in: who are the red-faced men who gather in an abandoned lot, leaving behind empty bottles? What is the strange dance the elegant Chinese gentleman carries out in the park? How come the unhappy Italian boy newly-arrived in Australia is virtually left to his own devices in what can only have felt like a hostile environment?
Beyond the children's Melbourne non-adventures, Rache Mason is also privileged enough to experience an ocean-going voyage to the North which will eventually alter the course of her life...which may turn into the subject of a sequel...
At the end of the book, there are descriptions of the very typical Aussie treats mentioned in the storyenjoyed as much today as in the 1960s...