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Nancy Drew Books: Are They Still Worth Reading?

Do you remember those classic yellow novels that you used to find in your school or local library?

Nancy Drew books are still available in most libraries and definitely online, but with newer trends, social justice, and a need for more heroic women, are Nancy Drew books still relevant today?

What I Love:

Although Nancy Drew books have some outdated themes, they are still entertaining mysteries. Back in the day, Nancy didn't deal with gruesome murders or hard cases. It was mostly just theft and ghosts, which is why I believe those who love cozy mysteries should still invest reading time into these novels.

And despite Nancy Drew often being told "no, you cannot" by men, she is a defiant and heroic character who always contributes to her community's safety.

However, there are still some cringey lines in ND Books.

And what I don't Like:

Despite Nancy's heroism, she's often told no, and her individuality is often dampered by the male figures in her life, primarily Carson Drew (her father) and Ned( her boyfriend). While I can understand her father's natural protection, sometimes Ned is very...overprotective, if that's the right word to use. Anytime George, Nancy, and Bess are about to go off on a dangerous expedition, either her father or Ned remind her that they need a big strong man to accompany them. Yuck.

It's also surprising to see the amount of racism and stereotypes in classic Nancy Drew books. Some derogatory language is used, and the stereotypes are cringey. If you don't believe me, check out The Haunted Showboat .

Another major factor is the outdated terms, gender norms, and technology. Can teenagers still connect with the witty sleuth, who drives a classic convertible and doesn't have access to internet or a smart phone?

The truth: yes and no. There are moments where I really love Nancy Drew books. I especially adored the discontinued games by Her Interactive (I recommend buying them on Steam. Hours of fun!) They are great cozy mysteries. But some of the terminology, gender restrictions, and stereotypes may turn people away. For younger readers, they may be confused by the outdated means of transportation and communication.

As of this post, I'm still working on the yellow classics, but hope to read all of the books one day!

What are your thoughts on ND books?


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