No Need for Nancy?

Since I just renewed my acquaintance with Nancy Drew while at the beach last week, I noted with interest an article in today’s Washington Post. It presents an interesting theory as to why she’s not as popular as she once was:

Girls now don’t need Nancy Drew. They know what we had to learn — that self-confidence is something to celebrate, not suppress; that they don’t need to apologize for being assertive, or even, heaven forbid, ambitious.

For us, Nancy Drew was revolutionary. Today, she’s the new normal.

I don’t know enough (any?) preteen/teenage girls to know if this is an accurate assessment, but if it is, it’s such a tremendous leap forward. I’d be lying, though, if I said I wasn’t sorry that Nancy — and Anne, and Ramona, and all the other great girl heroes of my childhood — won’t have as treasured a place on future bookshelves as they did on mine.

4 thoughts on “No Need for Nancy?

  1. Mom June 20, 2007 / 6:58 pm

    I love your and Shannon’s remembrances — never thought I could EVER forget the names of all your “book girlfriends” — and special they were. It will really be sad if today’s pre-teens and teens do not have these comforting best friends in print to devour over and over again, as you did.

  2. Eileen June 20, 2007 / 7:16 pm

    Nancy has another problem…its hard to get stuck in all those places and situations in the cell phone era. Now I know they have updated her too, but I am keeping the versions I have in hopes that our kids will read them someday and enjoy them in the same way that we loved stories involving the horse and buggy, even though we had progressed to cars.

    Maybe it is true (and it would be great) that society has embraced the “womens lib” of our youth, but fun, quirky characters never go out of style, and I think the majority will stand the test of time.

  3. Shannon June 20, 2007 / 8:45 pm

    On that note, how about this one? Maggie has recently gotten into Amelia Bedelia! I used to love those books.

    I also liked the Ramona books too but you know…I never got into Nancy Drew. I was more of a Little House on the Prairie girl.

    I never had the Anne of Green Gables books (feel free to email my mother with your words of astonishment) but my stepdaughter has a set of them. Maybe I’ll take them and read them. I commandeered her Harry Potter books too, heh.

  4. Wendy June 20, 2007 / 9:30 pm

    I loved loved loved Nancy Drew! I think I read most of them as a kid. And, now that Nancy Drew fever is back, I think I want to read them again.

    There was a segment on NPR Morning Edition recently about a new book discussing the history of Nancy Drew – “Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her” by Melanie Rehak.

    Here’s the link to hear the interview:

    My other favorite books were the Three Investigators series – I think I still have a few of them in my parents’ basement.

    I also enjoyed the Sweet Valley High books, but that’s a completely different discussion.

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