Back to Basics: Nancy Drew

In Uncategorized on July 25, 2010 at 2:19 am

Very recently, I chanced upon a copy of Nancy Drew: The Hidden Staircase at a secondhand bookstore. It was the perfect present for my ten-year-old sister who is now an avid fan of Ms. Drew. She blames me for getting her hooked on the series.  All I can say is, I’m glad I forced her to read The Secret of the Old Clock. It was Nancy Drew’s first mystery and one of my absolute favorites. Looking back at my childhood, I remember how often I would read our Nancy Drew books over and over again. Larkspur Lane, Double Jinx, The Crooked Banister– I never got tired of them! I wasn’t the only one addicted. My older sister was quite a fan as well. It’s not really surprising as we inherited our first Nancy Drew books from our mother.

Of course, there were many controversies surrounding the Nancy Drew books that many of you might not be familiar with. For one, Carolyn Keene, the author of these books, isn’t a real person. At least, that’s what I remember. I read somewhere that the books were written by many different people. Or was it just one person with many different pen names? Hmm…

But this wasn’t the big issue. Sometime in the 1980’s, our favorite titian-haired detective also caught the attention of the feminist movement. Some groups complained that she was too perfect to become a role model for women. Nancy Drew was too smart, too well-off, slim and too attractive. Huh… I don’t really know what to say about that (alright, I do but I’m divided). There were also criticisms on how Bess and George were portrayed. I think, if I remember correctly, that there were oppositions to such stereotypical characterizations. George was always a tomboy and Bess her complete opposite. Such complaints forced the company behind the books to change a few things about Nancy and her friends.

Now I don’t know whether our edition (the ones we inherited) are the new and improved or the original but I don’t recall being affected negatively by Nancy Drew. And to this day, I still enjoy reading Nancy Drew. In fact, I read two this week while whiling the time away. 🙂 No matter how repetitive the stories are, I still like reading them every now and then. Don’t you?

P.S. I must confess that I haven’t read all the Nancy Drew books yet. 😮 Strange yes but I had a habit of reading the same books again and again as a child. With my little sister now hooked on Nancy Drew, perhaps that can be remedied.

  1. The Hidden Staircase’s my first Nancy Drew book!

  2. Hehehe. And to think I only managed to read it this month. :p

  3. I do adore Nancy Drew! I always liked mysteries as a child, I still do, however, a great number of mystery books for adults seem to involve graphic murders and horrific crimes that really don’t settle well with me. I still have all my Nancy Drew novels, perhaps, I’ll have to reread them sometime this summer, for old time’s sake.

    Interesting about the controversy though, while I knew about the author supposedly being many authors, however, I had no idea there was such debates about her being too smart or slim or well-off. Frankly, I don’t think I considered these elements much as a girl, and when you think of the many “role models” young girls have these days, I’d hardly be complaining about Nancy Drew!


  4. Heehee. As far as I know, the tide has turned. They now like Nancy Drew or something. :p It’s always great to run into people who grew up with Nancy Drew. There’s just something comforting about reading it and although it may not be as suspenseful or as exciting as the modern novels out there, I still find myself going back to Nancy Drew. I also love the illustrations and the subtitles!

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