Monday, March 25, 2013

Rediscovering Nancy: Renewing Old Relationships with Book Characters

When the girls were babies, Himself decided they would need their own collection of Nancy Drew books. So, when  he traveled out of town, he made time to visit antique stores and flea markets, hunting for old copies still in good condition. He bought several over a period of a couple of years and then waited for the day the girls were old enough to enjoy them.

That day has finally arrived.

I'm not sure what prompted Miss Priss to decide to crack open a Nancy; Himself has, of course, encouraged her over the years, but she wasn't interested until now. She's on her fourth or fifth as of this morning.

Recently, Miss Priss and I drove to visit my Dad when he was in the hospital. On the way, she read aloud to me her favorite Nancy thus far: The Scarlet Slipper Mystery. Here's a snippet of our conversation:

[Miss Priss reads that Nancy's friends have found a letter, which is written in French.]

Me: I bet Nancy can read it, don't you?

We giggle.

Miss Priss, reading (although I'm paraphrasing; the book's not in front of me): "'Here's the letter,' he said. 'I'll translate it for you.' Although Nancy could both speak and read French, she listened intently as he read the letter.'"

We howl.

I must firmly assert here that I love Nancy. I adore her. I think she's fabulous. I also like to laugh at her perfection.

Miss Priss and I did not finish the book on our drive, so I read the rest of it by myself. And I loved every minute of it. One of my friends saw me with it and asked incredulously, "Are you reading Nancy Drew?"

I said, "Yep. It's awesome!"

It turns out my friend loved Nancy when she was younger; she can't wait for her daughter to read the books!

It's fun to rediscover old literary friends. Sometimes the reunion isn't as lovely as we would have hoped because our tastes changed as we grew up, but many times it's delightful. I've enjoyed getting to know the Ingalls girls again, for example. And it's fun to say to my daughters, "Oh, I loved this book when I was your age!" and then watch them read it and love it, too.

In fact, I've suggested to Miss Priss that she may want to try an experiment, one I did when I was in middle school. I had quite a few Nancies when I was younger (I wonder what happened to them all?), some of which were quite old. For several titles, I owned two versions: an earlier and a later. I read both versions and then compared them. There were quite a few revisions made to the later edition! Typically, the storyline was the same, but details were different. It was fun to compare the two. Nancy, her entourage, and her life details have altered over the years.

It's been a joy to watch my daughters discover literary delights I loved as a child. And I'm having a great time catching up with Nancy, whose the same as she ever was, I am happy to report.

Hmm. I wonder if Miss Priss would like to meet my friend, Trixie Belden?


  1. Sharah's reading a Trixie Belden right now! It's a slow go; it's really above her right now, but I'm not going to discourage her.

  2. my daughter loves Trixie Belden. We try to order one a month online. We have about 25 of her books. of course some of them were mine growing up.

  3. You and I mixed in the same circles, it seems. Trixie and Nancy and I were great friends. It's a wonder you and I didn't meet at one of their houses one weekend. Strange.


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