When I was in grade school, I was a big fan of the Nancy Drew mystery series. I think I’ve already established that I was something of a bookworm, and I loved all books. But whenever I saved up enough babysitting money to take a trip to the bookstore in the mall, I always spent my money on Nancy Drew.
Looking back, I’m not sure why, because I don’t think it was the mysteries I loved, although I always liked solving a puzzle. I enjoyed the suspense and danger, but the thing I remember most about that particular series was the shy romance between Nancy and Ned. That’s what got me every time. (Mind you, I was young and books then weren’t what they are now. Now romance is better. Way better.)
You know what else? When I look deeper, I think Nancy kind of had a Boy Scout kind of thing going on. Seriously, the woman was always prepared. Right? She kept a change of clothes in her car—which was good, because she always needed them. And she always had her eyes open and noticed the little details that would clue her in about something that would later solve the big mystery better than the grown-up detectives. So, I liked that she, the kid, was solving the mystery by herself. When she needed information, she always knew exactly who to call or how to get it. So, yeah. That’s another thing I liked about her. Nancy Drew was a female version of a Boy Scout.
And yes, before you ask, I read some Hardy Boys as well. But there wasn’t much romance in those stories, so my heart remained loyal to Nancy and Ned.
The downside, though, was that I never felt like Nancy had any flaws. Everything about her seemed a little too perfect. She never did anything naughty or bad, and when she was with Ned, there didn’t really seem to be real temptation between them.
Correct me if I’m wrong. I haven’t read a Nancy Drew book for a long time.
This is just one more sign of how literature has changed in the past twenty or twenty-five years. What did you read as a kid and how does it differ from current popular books?