Filed under: book reviews, fiction | Tags: caroline keene, critique, feminism, intuition, nancy drew, quotes, short stories, writing, young adult
It seems I am one of the few girls who never touched Nancy Drew. Though I admit, the “somewhat” dated book even seems a bit old for my generation. Recently I began work on another story and towards the beginning I made a remark about the main character doing some snooping. I wanted a colorful reference and it only took me a day and a half before I thought: “Hey! Why not Nancy Drew?”
Unfortunately, I knew nothing at all about this series of books. Okay, that’s not entirely true. I know that there was recently a movie/TV show about her, an updated series of books is available, and it was insanely popular this last Christmas. The other bit of information I gleaned from a grandmother purchasing the book for her granddaughter and it went something about how the mother (the grandmother’s daughter) didn’t like Nancy and thought it rather antiquated.
So today at work I glanced at the first page of Nancy Drew and The Secret of the Old Clock all in the name of research for a short story living on my hard drive and I can confidently say it knocked my socks off and I didn’t finish page one before I had to put it down from laughter:
NANCY DREW, an attractive girl of eighteen, was driving home along a country road in her new, dark-blue convertible. She had just delivered some legal papers for her father.
‘It was sweet of Dad to give me this car for my birthday,’ she thought. ‘And it’s fun to help him in his work.’
Her father, Carson Drew, a well-known lawyer in their home town of River Heights, frequently discussed puzzling aspects of cases with his blond, blue-eyed daughter.
Smiling, Nancy said to herself, ‘Dad depends on my intuition’ (1).
First, the book is terribly dated and I’m turning every page in anticipation of finding a character named Bunny or Dirk. Nancy is the too perfect wealthy, Aryan daughter and I’m thankful she at least does not refer to her father as daddy. And finally, the mention of “intuition” was the capstone. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely believe that people can have intuitive moments but unfortunately most of the time (and I find this particularly true when describing women) what is meant is “capability” or “astuteness” or “intelligence.”
For better or worse I cannot put Nancy down and my initial remark in my story has become a bit more snarky than it originally was intended.