Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I'm Keene on Greek Tragedies

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"Boys, ...Nancy Drew mysteries..."
Quote from the television series the "Gilmore Girls", when one female character lamented about how she doesn't understand the boys in her school.  That line got me thinking...

I'm not really the collector type, but I would love to own some first edition Nancy Drew books.  Written by Carolyn Keene, a pseudonym for a number of ghostwriters, this very popular series of mystery novels were some of my favourites growing up.

Nancy Drew first appeared in 1930, but her popularity wasn't until the late 1950's when her character was toned down, made more demure and conventional.  She was the stuff of Greek Tragedies if you think about it - Electra Complex to be exact.  How romantic a notion is it for a daughter to have her dad all to herself and help him to solve loads of mysteries, making herself lovable and useful?

On a rainy Saturday afternoon, I could escape my humdrum, preteen existence by going on adventures with Nancy Drew and company.  The stories were thrilling for girls that age and with a bit of thinking we could help to solve some of the mysteries.  It was sort of the less cheesy, literary version of "Scooby Doo".

I think some of my favourite were "The Secret of the Old Clock", "The Hidden Staircase", "The Mystery at Lilac Inn" and "The Message in the Hollow Oak".  I actually wouldn't mind reading them now.  It's like when I get in the mood to peruse Judy Blume again.  I have been accused of living in the past too much.  But look at what I'm doing now?!  Having a part of me back there has kept me sane and allowed me to indulge myself through writing!

Nancy Drew books have gone on to become more contemporary with each new decade since its first wave of popularity.  But I'll always love the original from the 1950's and 1960's.  Their chaste attitudes and way of speaking are charming to me now.

Young or old, if you see a dusty copy of a Nancy Drew book in a garage sale pile or old book store, take it home with you and become immersed right away!


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