Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Blast From the Past: The Clue in the Old Album

Growing up, I was a big Nancy Drew fan. My mom got me hooked when she gave me her 5-6 volume set from the 1950s. From that moment on I devoured the mysteries starring the girl detective like they were going out of style--every birthday and Christmas saw at least one Nancy Drew title on my list. I've been reluctant to reread any of these beloved mysteries for fear that they wouldn't hold up so well now that I'm a grown up. But--I signed up for the Birth Year Challenge Honors Edition and needed books from 1947 (my mom's birth year), so I decided to see which Nancy Drew book came out in that year and give it a reread. I thought it appropriate to read at least one Nancy book in honor of mom--since that's really how this love affair with books started--and, so, this is my first candle on Mom's Birth Year Challenge cake.

The Clue in the Old Album
--in which Nancy goes to a violin concert, observes a man steal an older woman's purse, runs after him, recovers the purse (but not its contents), and winds up on a hunt for a lost doll and a young girl's missing father who happens to be a gypsy. In the course of her adventures, Nancy gets poisoned and kidnapped (not on the same day), takes an impromptu trip to New York City where she just happens to be able to meet the violinist from the concert who introduces her to a famous gypsy actress, AND she and her friends Bess & George buy a little sailboat and win the first-ever "girls" boat race. Just your typical small-town girl's life. :-)

So, yeah. Totally unrealistic. But absolutely fun and exciting for young girls...and not too bad for a middle-aged girl doing a bit of nostalgia. As I've said previously here on My Reader's Block, I've seen critiques of the Nancy Drew stories--all about how it wasn't healthy to entice girls with a heroine who seemed to have all the money in the world and a dad who let her do anything. You know, those things never occurred to me. I never thought, "Gee, I wish I was rich like Nancy" or "I wish Dad would let me do whatever because Nancy can do everything." Yeah, I admit it, I wanted a blue roadster (for that matter, I still do), but not as a thing to possess. For me, that blue roadster represented adventure. Anything might happen when you set out on an ordinary day in your blue roadster. And, for Nancy, anything did.

This particular story was never one of my favorite, favorites. I'm not sure what I rated it then, but I suspect it would be the three stars that I'm assigning it now. Decent mystery, good adventure. A nice trip down memory lane.


Gina @ Hott Books said...


Danielle said...

My mom was the one who introduced them to me, too. I believe I only ever read and owned the first 20.

I'm 26 now and re-read a couple of them a few years ago and the writing is definitely geared toward a younger audience. I never thought she was a bad role model that made me wish I was rich and had no parental restrictions. But I did want to find hidden passages or secret clues to solve mysteries. They were just enjoyable adventures.

And at 10-12 (when I read them), 18 seemed so old and wise and independent to be able to do all of those things Nancy did!

Anonymous said...

I love Nancy Drew! I've been collecting all the yellow hardcovers. I've got quite a few, but nowhere near all of them yet!

Ryan said...

I'm getting ready to read the second book in the series now.