Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Chick Lit Cheerleader: Mysterious Ways

Introduction by Melissa Amster

When I was ten years old, Carolyn Keene came out with a series called The Nancy Drew Files. It was a Nancy Drew series for the 80s and Nancy was all stylish, like right out of Seventeen magazine. She solved the toughest mysteries and even had a hot boyfriend named Nick. Who wouldn't want to be in her shoes? While I'm not as much into mysteries as I was back then, I still have a fondness for Nancy Drew and feel all nostalgic whenever I see one of those 80s style books about her. I also just came across this hilarious fashion analysis for this series.

Our Chick Lit Cheerleader, Jen Tucker, also has a girlcrush on Nancy Drew. She's here today to talk about that delightful detective. (Maybe she and I will watch the Nancy Drew movie from 2007 the next time we hang out...)

What would Nancy Drew do?

Channeling my inner child
I can’t remember a time when books weren’t a part of my life. As a curly headed tot, I sat on my mom’s lap as she’d read Where the Wild Things Are, Hop on Pop, and The Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitcher, escaping into the pages of things that roared terrible roars, fathers who doubled as trampolines, and the perilous world of someone who’d dare to steal all the sprinkles from sweet little children. Who would do such a thing, right?

Around the age of ten, I discovered the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories penned by Carolyn Keene. The teen sleuth who solved mysteries before Unsolved Mysteries and Dateline NBC was a thing. I don’t know about you, but I can’t watch those shows. I cringe, believing those criminals are hiding in my barn waiting to get me. I’m not a paranoid person, so I’m not sure why the fear. Nancy Drew would tune in, wouldn’t she? No—she’d be the host and investigative reporter, I’m sure.

What endeared these books to me as a preteen was reading about a girl whose sense of adventure and righting wrongs drove her. She was an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances. She didn’t need ninja skills, super powers or weapons of mass destruction to avenge the innocent and catch bad guys. She used her noggin. Sometimes she was described as a “strawberry blonde” and at other times, a “titan blonde”. Regardless of the hue of her highlights, she was crafty.

I often think about Nancy at times I should feel brave. WWNDD? I’ve asked myself when there’s a foreign noise coming from downstairs and I’m the only parent present, at 2:00AM, while my husband travels for work. She would put on her big girl bloomers and investigate. If Nancy lived at my house, with flashlight in hand and fearlessness abounding, would tiptoe downstairs, listen closely for a few moments as her heart raced, then realize it was just her golden retrievers snoring. Me, on the other hand, would quietly tiptoe from my bed to the bedroom door then quickly lock it. “I’m the bravest girl of the bunch,” said no Jen Tucker ever.

My Nancy Drew novels rest on a bookshelf in my office. I only own six, yet read the entire series back in the day via the library or borrowed copies from friends. My daughter, Gracie, has not yet read them. I’m thinking it might be time to dust them off and introduce her to Nancy and the gang while reintroducing myself to some of my favorite titles: The Mystery at Lilac Inn, The Clue of the Velvet Mask, and The Sky Phantom just to name a few. I’m curious about some of your favorite books when you were younger or the first series you remember diving into as a young reader. We’d love you to share those titles with us here at CLC. You might mention some that many of have forgotten we loved too. Remembering those loved books, buried deep in the grey matter, is a wonderful thing.

Gracie (left) and her friend

Jen Tucker is the author of the funny and true stories, The Day I Wore My Panties Inside Out and The Day I Lost My Shaker of SaltIn September 2012, she had her children's book, Little Pumpkin published as an e-book. She also blogs monthly for Survival for Blondes. She currently lives in Indiana with her husband, three kids and two dogs. You can find her at TwitterFacebook, her blog and on her website. And in case you missed them. check out her previous Chick Lit Cheerleader posts here.


Janine said...

I wish i could say I was into Nancy Drew, but I wasn't. I remember reading when I was really young and then just stopped. I remember picking up books again when I was a teenager. At that point it was finding my mother's romance books that she hid in the closet. I figured if she's hiding it, it has to be good.

Eileen Goudge said...

I am so down with you on the Nancy obsession. I was the book nerd dreaming of being my favorite girl sleuth when I was just a little older than Gracie. With pluckiness and a flashlight, there's nothing a girl can't do, right? Oh, yeah, and I'll take the roadster while I'm at it. Though I'm pretty sure boyfriend Ned is secretly gay, because they never went beyond tame kissing.

Dee DeTarsio said...

Trixie Beldon!!

Melissa Seng said...

At one point in time, I think I either owned or read the majority of TBR Nancy Drew series.

Unknown said...

I read Nancy Drew so quickly that I kept running out of them. My mother found The Hardy Boys from some relative, so I read them. And Trixie Beldon. And Cherry Ames. So for sure I was going to be a nurse who was a detective on the side, or vice versa. I have Nancy Drew books now and I tried to get my granddaughters into them and they are too tame for today's kids. Makes me sad. But it's okay.....I still read them now and then.

Unknown said...

Janine, I remember seeing a copy of The Thorn Birds tucked behind several encyclopedias on book shelves in my house as a teen. I had the same thought as you. "If this is hidden, it must be good!"

Eileen, you crack me up! If you were a Charlie's Angel of the 1970's, all you needed is a flashlight, a tiny pistol in a beaded clutch and bell bottoms, right?

Dee and Bonnie, I never read Trixie Beldon! I need to take a peek at those.

Melissa, girl sleuth lovers unite!

Thank you for stopping by CLC! XO

Janine said...

I guess they hide the best books. :)