Back in my school days when we couldn’t order books off the Internet, one way for young students to have access to reading materials outside of the general bookstore or school library in New Zealand was the monthly catalogue Scholastic. Here is where I picked up my childhood passion of detective work, from the world of Nancy Drew, versions from both the books and the Her Interactive games. This had not one, but many female leads — Nancy, Beth and George.
Nancy Drew herself, on the surface, lives a perfect life. She has the car, the perfect boyfriend and is reasonably well off. She’s polite and never rude. She in every way is the “girl next door” trope with a unique detective complex. But it’s in the way her character was created that grabs readers. Immediately her stories drag you into her shoes, into solving missing person mysteries, ghost stories and murders. The police don’t worry when she is around because they know she’ll figure it out. She’s bold and independent and different. To readers today, it doesn’t seem impossible for a female teen to lead in her own series but when Edward Stratemeyer (behind the pseudonym Carolyn Keene) premiered the novel series in the 1930s, it gave a chance for women to no longer rely so heavily on the ideals of the time. As a child, it gave me a creative outlet. Suffice to say, I awaited the next issue of Scholastic with bated breath.
I was taught to be creative and independent — to trust my gut and that one can always find a way through tough times. What’s cool is that even though the books are sitting on my shelf, her character is constantly evolving through time.
You can support the continuation of the Nancy Drew game series by visiting the official website.
Girl Museum Inc.