The Memory Pool: Australian stories of summer, sun and swimming 

Reviewed By  Grasshopper2       November 1, 2019


Author  Therese Spruhan

Distributor:       Booktopia/Amazon 
ISBN:                 9781742236582
Publisher:         NewSouth
Release Date:   November 2019  


Maybe it’s in your DNA, or a learned behaviour, or a Star Sign, but there is definitely a group of people who just love the water and being in it. For those people, The Memory Pool is a dynamic collection of short stories that is so Australian, and so exciting to read, one cannot put it down. The stories evoke all the senses so much that you cannot help but reflect on your own encounters as a kid in a pool when you were growing up.

Reading the stories of many personal experiences with swimming pools, the reader sees similarities in the storytellers’ recollections. The wonderful sense of the water enveloping the body, and the solitary peace while under the water is remembered. All of the stories are told as the recollections of a child. I’m sure if you asked for similar thoughts of a picnic or show day, the sensory and contented experiences would not be so clearly remembered.

One story tells of swimming in a pool in Darwin during a rain storm and how the rain looked from under the water. Another tells of the challenges the children set themselves each visit to the pool. The stories never mention bullying, but tell about healthy competition and creativity in coming up with new games.

The first jump into the cool waters, and how that felt on your skin was a common feeling. The swimming lessons held in the pool had some less than caring teachers. One teacher had a broom handle and if you came to the edge of the pool for a rest, he would push you off. Freedom to play and be solitary or one of a crowd seemed to be most important to all the children.

Therese Spruhan has divided the sections very cleverly. She has stories from Suburban Pools, Bay Pools, Sea Pools, and Building Pools. These stories cover all states in Australia, and that strong love for the water and the personal peace it brings is common to all. The familiarity for the body in being almost weightless in water is not forgotten. Also, the fitness and skills that were almost accidentally built up as the kids played, were put to good account as many of them took part in competition swimming.

The heat, the pool turnstile, the blue of the water, the shock of the cold on your hot body, the peace and serenity under the water…Ahhhh! Yes, these are indeed sensation to remember forever.