I read on a blog post elsewhere that Nancy Drew turns 84(!) this year. Like many, I read all of these books when I was a child and loved them. Nancy was a role model: she had her own car and was really smart. She was even smarter than her father, “world famous criminal defense attorney Carson Drew.” It was Nancy and the Hardy Boys who started my love of mysteries. To this day, I read more mysteries than any other type of book. It’s fun to figure out “whodunnit.”
Other childhood favorites are Anne of Green Gables, Betsy Ray of the Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace and Sue Barton. When I reflect on these characters, I see that they all have something in common: they are bright and want careers other than being a housewife. Most of them lived in times when women were not encouraged to work out of the home so they were unusual. In the Betsy-Tacy series, Betsy’s parents encourage her to become a writer and she even spends a year travelling in Europe. Her sister becomes an international opera singer. This in the time period between 1910-1920. Almost unheard of!
As a child of the fifties and a teen in the sixties, it’s probably not surprising that these were my favorites. It was such a time of change for women and they all would have fit right in!