Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Flashback: My Gal Nancy

Happy Birthday Nancy Drew! The first Nancy Drew book was publish April 28, 1930. Do you think her creators would be stunned to know that for generations of girls, Nancy has been an idol? That her stories have been translated into an estimated 25 languages?

I read many series when I was a kid, but the one I remember most vividly is Nancy Drew.

My godparents bought me a set of the first 5 or 6 books and it was all over. I was hooked. I had to have been 9 or 10, but I still remember where I was when I read them. I even remember being at school reading one of the books during reading time and being upset that it was over and time for math because Nancy was about to solve the mystery!

As a kid growing up in the South, I thought that skiing was the ski jump. Clearly I thought the world was a Nancy Drew novel. Sadly, I found this was not the case and I don't have a blue roadster, nor do I have a father footing the bill on all my adventures. (He's pretty awesome at helping with house projects though.)

I've collected many old Nancy Drew books. Several of them are the first versions written in the 30s and 40s. They were revised in 1959 to be more PC. (The old ones use some very dated language, especially when talking about race.) Some of the stories are the same with minor revisions of language. Some are completely different stories. (Weird.) I've mainly found these old copies online. I look around at used bookstores, but there's not a big selection and they are usually priced much higher than the ones online.

In addition to the books in the series, I've also read several books about the series, including The Mysterious Case of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys by Carole Kismaric and Marvin Heiferman and Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her by Melanie Rehak. The history behind Nancy is quite complex. Carolyn Keene, of course, is a pen name and the original series had two main writers that were Carolyn. She was created by the same people that introduced the Bobbsey Twins and the Hardy Boys. With the '59 rewrites, critics think that Nancy lost a bit of her spunk. I still think Nancy is awesome: brave, independent, and smart. I'm not the only one that thinks so either!


  1. Several years ago I wrote a column for a local newspaper on Nancy Drew -- I interviewed several people for whom Nancy Drew was ... everything! I include myself as a firm ND fan! Loved her, loved, her, loved her. Only one of my girls feels the same, I am sad to say. I have some really old copies from my mom -- I bet they're originals. I think I'll go dig out one or two in her honor...

    As for current-day fare, here's something Nancy Drew never thought of: terrorism via sterilization! The book is "The Ovary Wars" by Mike Hogan. American women are unknowingly permanently sterilized by a foreign power. With no American pregnancies, population goes down (obviously) and the US has economic collapse. You have a VERY interesting plot, plus murder, crime, baby selling, infertility, all kinds of good stuff! What would Nancy do? (We all know she'd drive her sporty little roadster in her crime-fighting efforts!)

  2. I'm a bit of a Nancy Drew addict myself! :)