Nancy Drew TV Show Making You Nostalgic? Revisit These Books

Sienna Farris
October 9 2019
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I’ve always been a voracious
reader, and some of my favorite childhood memories involve books—reading way
past bedtime under the covers, lugging home bags of books from the library, friends
getting mad at me for wanting to read at their sleepovers, and reading out loud
scandalous passages of books, such as Judy Blume’s Forever on the
playground. My mother is also a big reader, and I always felt such a connection
to her when she would hand me copies of books that were her favorites from when
she was growing up. During those moments, I didn’t see her as “just” a mom; I
could picture her as another little girl like me who would rather be reading
than doing anything else. Her copies of the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories series were among the many books she
passed down to me.

I can still picture the covers: they
always seemed old-fashioned with this serious-looking redhead, always in a
dress, who always seemed to be caught in a kind of creepy situation. I
definitely read the first couple of books, The Secret of the Old Clock and
The Hidden Staircase, and all the others, but I don’t remember most
of their names or what they were about. I just remember being drawn to the
fiercely independent Nancy and her friends, “plump” Bess, “tomboy” George, and
her steady boyfriend, Ned. They always were solving some cool mystery and going
on fun adventures in Nancy’s sports car.

I don’t know how old I was when I
stopped being interested in Nancy Drew, probably when I discovered the series
that I have the most nostalgic affinity for, Sweet Valley High. But when
I heard the CW was coming out with a Nancy Drew series that was more like
a dark soap opera, Riverdale style, I decided to see what my girl
detective has been up to since I stopped reading her in the 80s. Was she still
wearing those prim fit and flare dresses and did her hair still have that iconic
little flip? 

It turns out Nancy has been up to a
lot! She’s always changing. This character has nine lives! I had no idea that
the series had actually started in the 30s, and then was revamped in the 50s
and 60s, the time period I was reading from. In the 80s and 90s, the series changed
from the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories to the Nancy Drew Files. The spinoff was a little more edgy than the
original, and apparently Nancy and Ned had a bit of a dysfunctional
relationship. And then in the early 2000s, the series changed again to Nancy Drew: Girl Detective. In these
books, Nancy has adapted to the modern world: she drives a hybrid, uses a cell
phone, and  narrates the stories. Then,
in 2013, the Girl Detective series
ended and the Nancy Drew Diaries began. The current
series is also written in the first person and incorporates current pop
cultural references.

Although part of me wishes that we
would leave beloved characters like Nancy Drew alone and keep them in a time
capsule, I understand why changes have to be made to attract new generations.
Even though I’m a retro Nancy Drew lover, I know I’ll end up bingeing Nancy
when it shows up on a streaming site (the series debuts on the CW on October
9) to see what my old friend has been up to after all these years.

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