Like most collectors, when I stumble across a title in a series, I right away know that if I read one, I'm going to have to have them all. This seems to be a borderline sickness. If the book has a number on the spine, I immediately want to find the other titles in the series, and make sure I have them all at my disposal. Even worse, I'm one of those people who feels he must read the books in the order they were published. I have to tell myself it's okay to read The Hidden Staircase if I haven't first read The Secret of the Old Clock. And if I found out that a particular book series was not written in the same order they were published, I have to decide if I read the series in written order or published order. Sometimes I think I must be a victim of some strain of OCD disorder, but the messy desk I have by the middle of the school year assures me I don't!
I read Nancy Drew. Even better, I collect Nancy Drew as well. I don't talk about it a whole lot. I suffer from the gender stereotype that says a boy reads The Hardy Boys and girls read Nancy Drew. I read The Hardy Boys and the Three Investigators as a kid, but would have never been caught dead reading one of my sister's Nancy Drews!! The whole idea was crazy! But my fourth grade teacher did read the revised text Old Clock to us out loud in school, and I had to admit the story was interesting. Since then I have read numerous other titles in the series, and now, drawing close to fifty, I have to say it out loud... Not only do I read and collect Nancy Drew, I also enjoy her.
I have had to "give myself permission" to read Nancy Drew out of order. I have read most of the early original text tiles, and quite frankly I am captivated by the look into the past that it gives. I enjoy the roadster, the social etiquette presented, and the slice of midwestern Americana that it celebrates. I have read a couple of the later yellow spine titles, and recently have been exploring some of the paperback digest tiles after procuring a large portion (almost a hundred!) from a fellow collector.
I have been reading The Bluebeard Room and am almost done. In this book, we see a slightly different Nancy Drew. She is involved in a mystery that surrounds drugs. In addition, she kisses a young man, and it's not even Ned! She is anxious over what other people think of her, and she is given to other emotional feelings not commonly seem in the Nancy of the Thirties and Forties! This Nancy is not your grandmother's Nancy.
Personally, I have been enjoying the paperback Nancy Drews. They have pretty good story lines, and they seem to still be sticking to the basic premise started by the Syndicate so many years before. But what do fans think? What is considered the Official Nancy Drew book series?
Is it the Grosset and Dunlap published 1-56? Or is it all 175 titles before the Nancy Drew, Girl Detective series was started? Or is Nancy only the original books written before the G&D yellow spine editions were brought out? Does the series end with the last dust jacketed book The Mystery of the Fire Dragon, published the year I was born, 1961? What is the official Nancy Drew canon? Does a Nancy Drew purist lower his or her self reading the paperbacks? Must a real Nancy Drew story have blue multi-pic endpapers? Can Nancy drive a convertible instead of a roadster?
I'm curious what most of you think. Is Nancy a character frozen in time, or does a modern Nancy Drew fit in the Twenty-first century? Perhaps because of my desire to have each title in the series, numbers 57-175 sit on my bookshelf along with my matte picture cover Nancy Drews. I want them all! (BTW, I don't have them all yet, but I'm getting there!!) Since I want them all, 1-175 works for me!