Like a billion other girls, I loved Nancy Drew growing up. My sister and I collected the yellow-spined books, requesting them at every Christmas and birthday, saving our own money to buy more, more, more. They were terrific. They had hard backs and chapters like big people books, and they always bore art that attested to the life of a glamorous, independent young woman. Nancy was cool.
I remember being excited, and then vaguely offended, by the series with Pamela Sue Martin, back in the seventies (alternating weekly with the well-coiffed Hardy Boys, Shaun Cassidy and Parker Stevenson). The series, it seemed to me, kept very little of the Nancy books intact, and that did not please me as a reader.
Imagine my surprise to see the first commercial for the movie called "Nancy Drew." I had the television on mute, so I had no idea that this flick was even a mystery until the very end, when the words NANCY DREW flashed on the screen. Until then it seemed like any other generic teen movie with lots of close-ups on a star with reddish hair. Hmmmm. Not impressed so far.
Nancy has lasted this long because people stuck with the formula--although I have no idea if the Nancy of today sells as well as the Nancy of my era, or the early Nancy who had her birth in the 30s. I know that Nancy was reinvented a few times, but she still presented the same basic image: young, smart, independent, mystery-loving. I sure hope that this movie doesn't taint that image.
My new book, Madeline Mann, has been touted by my publisher as a book that people would enjoy if they grew up reading Nancy Drew. To me, this is high praise indeed. Would that I could enjoy Nancy's longevity, her name recognition, her sales. But for now, the comparison is flattering enough.
Here's to Nancy: long may she reign.