Nancy Drew

January 5th, 2007 — 1:51pm

I’ve been on a Nancy Drew reading jag. I loved them when I was ten and wanted to revisit them to figure out why. Though there are many dozens of titles, the plot always goes something like this:

Nancy is handed a mystery to solve. Her friends Bess and George join her. Bess is plump, George is a tomboy. They drive off in Nancy’s convertible and start gathering clues. They eat breakfast, gather more clues, each lunch, gather more clues, eat dinner. The plot thickens. They are threatened. Their “special friends” Ned, Burt and Dave join them. They unearth the final clue. Nancy solves the mystery, thanking her friends for their help.

I’m not quite sure why I loved these books so much. They’re poorly written (one of my favorite lines is when Bess says of a haunting green apparition “I wish he’d go out of existence” instead of “I wish he’d drop dead, or more politely, “I wish he’d disappear”).

But Nancy is thoroughly decent, very smart and clearly brave. She’s also unknowable. A neutral canvas with titian hair (which later turned to strawberry blond, like Bess’ plumpness turned to “slightly overweight”). Nancy in a way, is like the media ideal of the perfect therapist – kind, attractive, trustworthy, neutral and ultimately unknowable.

Maybe that’s it. Maybe Nancy was my childhood therapist, helping me believe that I could become anything I wanted.

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