6/17/2015 – Memories of Summertime Reading
When I was a kid, summer days meant a blissful release from school, hours spent at the beach, and more hours under a tree, feeling the warm breezes and reading. I read everything that presented itself, often from the adult fiction shelves at our local library, but what I enjoyed most back then were the Nancy Drew mysteries.
Growing up in a time when women were admired for beauty rather than brains and limited to subservient roles, I felt pleased when the villain in a book or movie was a woman. Roles like that gave her power, made her interesting. It was such a relief from just another beautiful female forced to give all the heroics to the leading male character. It led me to realize that books (and movies) written by men could not be trusted for anything they said about women. Irene Adler and Nancy Drew seemed to be the sole exceptions.
So it’s not surprising that when I latched onto a new Nancy Drew mystery, happiness reigned. She was adventurous and she was female. Those two attributes were rarely seen together in anything else I read or saw or experienced around me as I was growing up. To say a woman was an “adventurer,” even had an unsavory ring to it.
Nancy Drew was also curious and always learning something new, even taking classes in interesting subjects. She was an original lifelong learner. And so she directed me in the path that I should go. Adventurous, curious, and always learning. Mysteries often capture these qualities in their characters and plots. This is why I am such a mystery fan.
When I think back to those lazy summer days and of the books I read, I push aside works by Jane Austen or Charles Dickens or any other of the classics which I did enjoy. I think instead of Nancy Drew and of her adventurous and curious spirit.