Reading has always been a huge part of my life. Even before I understood what books and stories were, I was reading. This is mainly due to my mother, who is an avid reader. She introduced me to many stories that shaped my childhood, the main one being the Nancy Drew Mystery Series.
I remember seeing the classic hardcover books in a box my mother stored in the attic. She had the whole collection and I was eager to dive into the series. In order to make sure that I understood the books, which were the most complex I had read up until that point, my mother had me read a chapter of the first novel in the series The Secret of the Old Clock. When I finished reading, my mother asked me questions and once I proved that I understood the plot, the book was mine.
I devoured the series and eagerly awaited trips to the school library so I could take out the latest volume. Nancy’s world was unlike anything I had ever seen before. She was so cool and in control, solving mysteries all around the world with a cute boyfriend and blue convertible. I had never encountered a female character with as much agency as Nancy Drew. She was given free reign to do as she pleased and that, to me, was inspiring.
Unlike many of the modern female-led narratives, Nancy Drew’s whole identify was not wrapped up in her gender. She was intelligent, clever, witty, and, when it came to solving mysteries, obsessive. Through her relationship with her friends Bess and George, we also saw a softer and more vulnerable side to Nancy. The most intriguing aspect of Nancy’s personality to me was her curiosity. She never solved mysteries for money or glory. Sleuthing was a compulsion for Nancy, something she had to do. I feel the same way about writing. Although it would be nice to be able to make a living as a writer, I tell stories because I love it. Nancy and I are alike in that way.
The Nancy Drew novels have transformed over the decades, transplanting everyone’s favorite female detective to the 21st century. But despite these multiple incarnations, Nancy and her friends remain as fresh and relevant as ever.
If you decide to start reading the Nancy Drew novels, I recommend starting with the ordinal 56.