Skip to main content

Book Review: Girl Sleuth by Melanie Rehak

When my daughter was old enough for chapter books, I couldn't wait to get her a Nancy Drew book, specifically a young readers version of Nancy called "Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew." She fell in love!

It's precisely this handing down of Nancy Drew from mother to daughter, aunt to niece and super cool friend of Mom's to a young girl that has allowed Nancy Drew to remain one of the best selling children's book series of all time. In Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her, Melanie Rehak does an excellent job at outlining the birth and rise to world domination of our beloved Nancy Drew.

The birth of Nancy Drew came from a combination of "father of only daughters finds feminism" and a new found attention of the massive buying power of teens. In 1922 "the Stratemeyer Syndicate [which birthed Nancy Drew] earned $9.1 million, $1 million of which was from [one of their girls series] (page 98)." Which leads to one of the themes of this double biography - the evolution of girlhood in the USA. How did such a strong girl character catch in the years between the first and second wave of feminism?

Girl Sleuth is the story of the two women who did indeed craft Nancy's character and sustained our appetite for more and more Nancy Drew mysteries. One woman charted her own path in writing and journalism, the other found a career opportunity out of her father's untimely death. Both were partners in crime, yet also were antagonistic to each other over the years.

What made me smile was the way that Rehak weaved in feminist history into Nancy's history. Rehak doesn't say that Nancy is a feminist character, but she does show us how the role of women in the workforce, girlhood and the emergence of the second wave of feminism all impacted Nancy's development.

This isn't a new book. In fact the series my daughter likes to read isn't referenced as it started in 2006 and this book was published in 2005. But it's a book that I've been meaning to read for years. Fellow book worm, Rachel read it years ago and said I had to read it and that I would love it. She was right. I received this book through PaperbackSwap.com.

I would add this to any summer reading list. It's an easy read, enjoyable and if you loved Nancy as a girl, you'll love this book. Purchase a copy from an indie bookstore or Powells.com and toss it in your bag.

* Book links are affiliate links. If you buy your book here I could make a very small amount of money that goes towards this blog.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Review: Mary: The Adventures of Mary Shelley's Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter

Mary: The Adventures of Mary Shelley's Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter by Brea Grant My rating: 4 of 5 stars View all my reviews

Frederick, A Virtual Puppet Performance - Read by Michael Shannon

WOW...this is my first post during the Coronavirus pandemic! I hope you and your loved ones are healthy and safe. Thanks to the Chicago Children’s Theatre, the city’s largest professional theater devoted exclusively to children and families, for launching a new YouTube channel, CCTv: Virtual Theatre and Learning from Chicago Children’s Theatre. To kick if off we are treated to Frederick. Here's hoping this helps with your little ones. Or is a comfort to everyone of all ages. Chicago Children’s Theatre’s all-new virtual puppet performance was created while all of the artists were sheltering in place, working with resources limited to what they had in their homes or on their laptops. Frederick is directed by CCT Co-Founder and Artistic Director Jacqueline Russell. Puppets and sets were designed, built and puppeteered in a home studio by Grace Needlman and Will Bishop, CCT’s Director of Production, the creative team behind CCT’s annual series of Beatrix Potter puppet show

Book Review: Wolfpack by Abby Wambach

Less than a year ago, Abby Wambach took the stage at Barnard's commencement and gave a speech that shook many, including myself, to the core . Her speech went viral and I made the above image in order to share the highlights of her speech. Earlier this month Abby released the speech in book form. Wolfpack : How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Game is short (less than 100 pages) but is much more than just her speech . You get a peek into how the speech came together and why she said everything. And because the book is short and is an expanded speech, it moves quickly. I feel that it moves with the same ferocity that Abby use to move down a soccer field. And you might find yourself cheering as she takes you through the story. Abby has always been one of my favorite players. The way she ran amok on the pitch was exactly the way I felt I played sports. Never caring how you looked and giving it your all. Leaving it all on the field. When she retired from socc