A hugely popular bestseller when it first appeared in 1957, Where Did You Go? Out. What Did You Do? Nothing. is Robert Paul Smith's nostalgic and often wry look back on his 1920s childhood. Smith agitates against what he perceives as the over-scheduled and over-supervised lives of suburban children as he celebrates privacy, boredom, and time to oneself away from adults. Arcane games and pastimes including mumbly-peg, horse-chestnut collecting, and Indian scalp burns pervade the book, alongside tales of young love--"I loved the smell of kerosene. Rose smelled of kerosene. I loved Rose."--and hard-won observations by Smith the elder. Where Did You Go? Out. What Did You Do? Nothing. still conveys the essence of adventure that forms the basis of a fondly recalled childhood.
Mr. Smith is sympathetic. Mr. Smith is also very funny . . . heartwarming.