The new Nancy Drew movie turns the dauntless heroine into a fashionably self-doubting modern girl, writes Meghan O’Rourke in Slate. In 2004, Simon & Schuster reintroduced a series called Nancy Drew: Girl Detective.
The publisher made the new Nancy more inward-looking and doubt-stricken than her former can-do self. Gone were the days when Nancy’s interior life seemed to consist only of curiosity about the mysterious-looking fellow with a dark mustache lingering by the bank. The acutely self-aware new Nancy related her adventures in the first person and had questions about her ability.
This was a stark contrast to the original Nancy Drew. When the sleuth was invented in 1930, she was supposed to reflect the adventurous spirit of that era’s “New Woman.” She had spunk, a lot of good hunches, and zero introspection.
The new Nancy also seems to be younger. She’s a school girl. Classic Nancy seemed to be eternally 18 — out of high school, not in college, free to follow clues where ever they led.
When I was a girl, I read all the Nancy Drew books, trading with friends for rare copies. We liked Nancy’s independence and her gift for solving mysteries though we made fun of her infallibility and wondered why she drove a shiny red roadster rather than a car. My favorite was Password to Larkspur Lane. You can order the 75th Anniversary Box Set with the original text or books 1 through 64 in the “classic” series.