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Archive for the ‘Nancy Drew’ Category

Nancy Drew: the Icon for all Aspiring Young Detectives. Pt 3

In List of Summer Reading, Nancy Drew on June 12, 2012 at 5:23 pm

This post is more for people who are familiar with Nancy Drew– and I’m (hopefully) assuming most people are (although in my Perfect World everyone knows Nancy Drew and she is, in fact, a real person. And Ned turns out to just be her friend so he can go and be my boyfriend…do try to contain your jealousy).

Why has Nancy Drew persisted to this day? (I’m talking about her books, not the computer games, movies, or anything else…although that collection is impressive.)

1) She has been an icon since the 1930s, when young girls were looking for a strong female character to help them through the Great Depression

2) Our mothers most likely read them (mine did!) so…

3) They were more than happily inclined to give us their much-loved copies to their precious daughters so that we could somehow share the same memories our mothers possessed growing up while reading Nancy Drew

4) They’re mystery books! And who doesn’t like a mystery novel? (I especially like how they’re not terrifying…I don’t do well reading scary novels at night, alone…meep)

5) They’re filled with historical charm…personally, my favorite aspect is how frequently Keene uses the word “gay” in its original intention…”Ned gaily skipped to meet Nancy,” “Nancy, Bess, and George, were feeling quite gay that day, ”  “Nancy was in a gay mood as Ned accompanied her to the dance.” I made those up…I didn’t feel like rifling through 56 books to find the exact mentions. The real sentences, though, serve as  lovely reminders of how times have changed! When I was little I would giggle in a silly manner as I read the word in that antiquated term, but I believe it lends quite a bit of historical character to her novels, which make them all the more enjoyable (I’m a history major, if you haven’t caught on yet). My second favorite antiquated phrase—“Good night!” emphatically produced by Ned whenever he hears something startling. Could you imagine yourself saying “Good night!” in a shocked manner to a friend today? Me neither…if I want to retain my friends!

6) She has turned out remarkably well for having no mother since the age of three, and a father who constantly travels and is rarely home. Today some people I believe would take her story and make her fragile or easily broken. However, Carolyn Keene and Nancy Drew’s creators instead made Nancy a very, very strong person who seems to be unaffected by her loss. Fortunately, I do have both of my parents, although they travel as much (my mom) and more-so (my dad) than Carson Drew. But I can imagine that if a young girl with the loss of one parent in the 30s and now picks up a Nancy Drew book for the fist time, she will appreciate Nancy’s resilience and maybe have someone to aspire

Since the Nancy Drew books definitely cater to a younger audience, it makes sense that the novels would be very similar in structure. I recently double checked about a dozen or so, and each novel starts off with dialogue, uttered first by Nancy or her acquaintances. Also, you can’t get past the first page without hearing Nancy’s full name, her age, and a mention of her “titian blond hair.” You can’t get through the first chapter without hearing a mention of Carson Drew, her famous lawyer/father in River Heights, or Hannah Gruen, who has been the Drew’s housekeeper since Nancy’s mother died when Nancy was three (has anybody made any guesses as to how her mother died? I’ve always wondered…) Amazingly, I never realized till I re-read them, but Bess and George actually do not appear in the first several novels! I thought they were always a staple in Nancy’s life, but you don’t meet them till the 5th book, The Secret of Shadow Ranch!  Personally, I love how much dedication Bess and George show to Nancy. They’re willing to do nearly anything for her and constantly let her have the limelight!

Of course, one cannot get through a Nancy Drew novel without smiling when Ned comes on the scene. In fact, Ned doesn’t come around until the 7th, in The Clue in the Diary, where Nancy first believes he was trying to steal her car, instead of move it away from the fire. Another note to mention is the important role Nancy’s blue convertible plays in nearly every  books. My mom and I used to have a running joke about how many times Nancy had her car stolen (although I’m on book 23, and so far it hasn’t really). Good old Ned Nickerson, football player at Emerson College (hot stuff), always is willing to help her out, even when it meant they have to cancel their dates (which they frequently do). He always calls at just the right time, always shows up just before Nancy’s kidnappers get ready to move or kill her (she’s also always kidnapped), and he always brings backup. You go Ned!

I love the level of independence Nancy has in the books. Her father essentially lets her do anything! She wants to go to the bad side of town to talk to a witness? Sure thing! She wishes to hop on a plane and fly to New York to check out a clue? Let me get my checkbook! He also willingly sends her off alone to help him complete mysteries involving his cases, which I find amusing. Sure, let me send my daughter out to the middle of nowhere in some dark bayou, or an Indian reservation! She’ll do fine! It’s clear he loves her, but geez, Carson Drew easily places his daughter in danger 9 times out of 10.

Which Nancy Drew book is your favorite? When I was young mine was the 4th book, The Mystery at Lilac Inn. Now, I’m not so sure. Now, I love all of them.

Word of the Day: Namecheck- a specific mention of someone’s name, for example on a radio programme (Source: Dictionary.com) And  yes, I specifically looked for a word starting with “N” in remembrance of Nancy (who will outlive us all)

Fun Fact: “Nancy” according to UrbanDictionary (yes, I did just reference that…)

“A vibrant girl with a zest for living life to its fullest. Nancy has the smarts and the looks to make every man fall in love with her without any flirtation. Any guy would be lucky to date a Nancy. She is everything. Adventurous, outgoing, energetic, intelligent, funny, artsy, studious, free-spirited, lively, kind-hearted, generous, enthusiastic, friendly, and loving – all the while staying modest and humble. She becomes uncomfortable when receiving compliments and never boasts about her talents.Nancy is just naturally attractive and doesn’t use makeup to make herself look beautiful. Her style is fresh, comfortable, and gorgeous. Not an athlete – but athletic. Not a voluptuous babe – but sexy in her own way. Unafraid to venture out and try anything, she’ll have you doing things you wouldn’t have thought of doing before and you’ll love every second of it. She gives meaning to life and life to the meaningless. You’ll find yourself becoming more and more addicted to her presence. You’ll ache every minute she’s not with you and she’ll pretty much occupy all the space in your head every second of every day. Nancy’s smile is gold and her laughter is magic.”
Do you find that as amusing as I did? As always, please let me know if you have any questions or comments or suggestions for topics of my blog! And thank you to all who are reading it. I so heartily appreciate it.


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Nancy Drew Galore!

In List of Summer Reading, Nancy Drew on June 11, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Nancy Drew Galore!

a collection of Nancy Drew book covers I found…Are these the same copies you possess(ed)? They are for me!

Nancy Drew: The Icon for all Aspiring Young Detectives. Pt 2

In List of Summer Reading, Nancy Drew on June 11, 2012 at 9:07 pm

Now for the second part of my Nancy Drew posts (I really couldn’t dedicate only one blog post to her…I mean, come on. She’s an icon!)

Nancy Drew completes her young detective career between high school and college of her 18th year in the 1930’s (I’ve gathered the timing because 1, Carolyn Keene, aka Mildred A Wirt Benson, wrote them in the 1930’s and 1940’s, Nancy Drew refers to one friend as “had” attended high school with him, her “favorite date” Ned Nickerson is in college, and Nancy is 18, which Keene constantly refers to in every. single. one. of. her. books).

Reading Nancy Drew a second time while I’m much older, it’s amazing the problems that the editors and copy-writers missed before publication. In book 3 (I believe), Bess and George tease Nancy for flirting with a guy while Ned is in Europe. Several books later, Nancy meets Ned for the FIRST time at a house fire (romantic, right?). I find this more amusing than depressing, and I say these mistakes not to make Nancy Drew lovers upset or disillusioned, but because it fascinates me. As the daughter of an author, I’ve had the privilege of learning  a freakish amount of information surrounding the publishing world, which is why I was actually stunned when I learned of all of these mistakes. In the book The Mystery of the Moss Covered Mansion, for example, they visit the Kennedy Space Center, which wasn’t built until……….1962. OMG! She was 18 in the 1930’s, but somehow she’s solving a mystery 20 something years later and she’s STILL 18? Hmmmm…. Another biggie, and the most amusing of them all: Nancy Drew completes all 56 mysteries between high school and college, even though there’s not possibly enough days to complete them, AND there are specific mentions to mysteries taking weeks to complete. She must have had a time traveling watch like Hermione!!

Still, these differences bothered me much less re-reading them, despite me being a perfectionist and a tad bit OCD, coupled with a fear of childhood memories being shattered somehow. The Nancy Drew books are really amazing books, filled with amazing characters and interesting plots, no matter what age you are.

Grosset & Dunlap published the original Nancy Drew mysteries. While the original creators switched publishers in 1979, Simon and Schuster published a 57th Nancy Drew novel, which resulted in a lawsuit that entailed that the first 56 novels would be owned by Grosset & Dunlap, and Simon and Schuster would continue to publish (I think they’re up to 175??). I actually had no idea there were more than 56 until a few weeks ago. How about you, readers? Did you read the first 56 or did you continue reading them? Personally, I read the first 56, and I feel like I would be dishonoring Carolyn Keene and the other ghost writers if I continued with the 57th, etc. (call it my feverish desire to preserve original history). Viva la Nancy Drew!

Word of the Day: Mignon- small and pretty; delicately pretty (Source: Dictionary.com) As in– “Yes, I’d like a piece of that delicately pretty piece of meat– the small one, please…yum.”

The third part of my Nancy Drew post collection will be about the novels, including their similarities and differences (like plot and plot development, how Ned always arrives at JUST the right time, etc.) I really could talk forever about Nancy Drew, and I know I’m leaving a lot out, but I’ll try to get to all of the important information! Please comment, though, if you have any Nancy Drew questions or want me to discuss a certain aspect in my next post.

Also, a personal triumph: four people have read my previous post! I’ll be honest, I really didn’t (don’t) think people would even look at my blog, since I’m still confused how people can see it anyway, and because it’s a random collection of topics. However, I really appreciate it, readers from the US and Canada!

Nancy Drew: the Icon for all Aspiring Young Detectives. Pt 1

In List of Summer Reading, Nancy Drew on June 10, 2012 at 5:40 pm

If you are reading this and you do not know the name “Nancy Drew,” turn around and leave my page.

Just teasing. If you don’t know her, then you should read this post so you DO know her, because it’s really such a shame you’re not familiar with the famous girl detective.

I’ll start by saying that the reason I’m discussing Nancy Drew is because for some reason even I have yet to discover, I decided to re-read all 56 Nancy Drew novels this summer (and although I don’t feel like publishing my age yet, let’s just say that I’m not an 9 year old. I promise). I am in possession of every one of them, including a few from the collection that belonged to my mother, circa 1970s (it’s a little frightening to see her name scrawled in a little girl’s handwriting fiercely claiming ownership of her copies). For a quick summary of my relationship with the detective, Nancy Drew and her sleuthing skills kept me inspired and in perpetual awe for the majority of my young childhood. Although I cannot remember (sad face) the exact year or age I started reading her, I believe it was probably at a very young age, like 7 or 8. I can’t remember when I finished the 56th novel, either, although I clearly remember the feeling I had when I read the last and final page. Bereft would most accurately describe it. Lost. Forlorn, despairing, as if I had reached the final chapter of my childhood.

I suppose one reason for why I decided to pick up the series again is that I’m between a young person and an adult right now. I am expected to have a job this summer, and I’m living in a foreign country without family or friends for 4 months later this year. Still, I can’t find a summer job, so I rely completely on my parents financially (it’s so depressing), and I’ve felt for over a year like I’m stuck in this limbo, a glass ceiling where I can see all of my friends, my age and younger (aghh), making their own way financially and independently. Maybe I hoped to find encouragement, inspiration, and also solace for my childhood inspiration. Nancy Drew is, essentially, more independent than most 18 year olds are in the 21st century. It’s frightening, really.

I believe that one reason Nancy Drew became so popular is that she represented independence, strength, intelligence, and success to young girls pounding through the Great Depression. Nancy lives in an affluent area of River Heights (not a real town, but most likely shares characteristics with towns Keene knew), her father is a successful criminal lawyer, she has two amazing best friends, a great “boyfriend” (and I say that in quotation marks because Keene is rather mysterious as to whether they’re actually together. Sure, Ned is Nancy’s “favorite date,” and they frequently go out together when in town, but Keene never actually labels Ned as Nancy’s boyfriend- or even if they kiss!).  Nancy Drew has the perfect life, as it appears to me in 2012 and how it must have appeared to young girls in the Great Depression and the early ‘40s.

Fun Fact: Carolyn Keene wrote only 23 novels out of the 56 most popular Nancy Drew mysteries (1-7, 11-25, 30).

Fun Fact: Nancy Drew novel was published just nine years after women gained the right to vote!

Word of the Day:

Sleuth: a detective. Synonyms: investigator, private investigator;private eye, gumshoe, shamus.

Part 2 will be shorter (I promise!)