Tuesday, September 6, 2011

“From Nancy Drew to Stephanie Plum”

            Nothing pleased me more as a child than coming home to find a book-sized box on my twin bed. I always knew that I’d have hours of entertainment from the latest in my Nancy Drew mystery series. My sister hooked me on the young detective by loaning me a copy of The Secret of the Old Clock. By the time I turned seven, my parents decided to join the book club in order to keep up with my demands for the next edition.
            I loved reading the Nancy Drew series for several reasons. Even as a child, I enjoyed to puzzle over things and put together evidence and clues to solve a mystery. My goal with each book? Discover the solution to the crime or mystery before Nancy, of course! I smugly applauded my reasoning every time I put together the pieces of Nancy’s puzzles. Although I liked Nancy quite a bit, I identified more with her best friend, George. I felt George had a little more spunk than Nancy. As I read the books, I never imagined myself at the wheel of the blue roadster. Instead, I sat in the passenger seat, the loyal buddy ready to accompany Nancy on her adventures.
            Thinking back, perhaps Nancy Drew’s perfection put me off as a child. She always wore the perfect outfit, said just the right things, and never bungled nor had a misstep. With her impeccable father and flawless boyfriend, Nancy’s noble determination to help those around her made her an ideal heroine. I, however, needed someone with a little grit.

            As an adult, I still love reading light mysteries. Only now, it’s the latest Janet Evanovich installation that baits me. I hate having to wait for the next adventure of Stephanie Plum. Of course, this character embodies the antithesis of Nancy Drew. That clumsy, gritty, complicated heroine I longed for as a child appeared on the bookshelves in 1994. I identify with Stephanie Plum’s boldness. I love her imperfect family and her bumbling crime solving methodology. Whether she’s pressed against super-hot Morelli, or simmering next to sultry Ranger, Stephanie’s imperfection draws me into her world. As I lose myself into Stephanie’s adventures, I identify with her and not her best friend (which may be fortunate as Lulu’s a humongous, gun toting, ex-ho stuffed into Spandex.)

 Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman   

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