A teen sleuth who took the world by storm.
Kids from the 1960s are the ones who are most familiar with teen sleuth Nancy Drew. I am not a 60s kid, nevertheless I was lucky enough to have been bequeathed with some original Nancy Drew books, so I can say that I am acquainted with the character. And when I did, well, you can just say that I pretty much fell for her and her adventures. I was hooked.
Now, Nancy Drew has been modernized to an intrepid teen who drives a hybrid and uses a cell phone. Many might also associate the character to that as portrayed by Emma Roberts in the 2007 movie adaptation or the one in the computer games. But before all that, Nancy Drew started as the contemporary of the well-loved Hardy Boys. In fact, her character was actually created to provide girl readers with a strong female character that they can relate to—similar to boy readers and their very own Hardy Boys role models. This was indeed a brilliant plan for Edward Stratemeyer, creator of the Hardy Boys and founder of the Stratemeyer Syndicate which churned out a lot of books of the same kind. The Nancy Drew series became a great success.
Analyzing the popularity of the character now, I can say that the Nancy Drew character attracted a huge following especially among the female demographic because of her character make up. Remember, she is this young 16 to 18 year-old squeaky clean teenage girl who lives in River Heights with a loving and supportive lawyer father as well as a caring mother figure in the person of the family housekeeper Hannah Gruen. She is well-off and popular. But more than anything else she asserts a strength and intelligence that allows her to solve mystery cases. She is brave, generous and good. In a lot of ways, she is like a humanized “super girl” that many young women aspire to be. She is a poster child for any young woman who idealizes feminine grace, a good heart and a cool intellect. In fact, many famous females all throughout history have cited her as one model who has exerted a formative influence in their lives—among of which are Hillary Rodham Clinton and Laura Bush, to name a few.
Indeed Nancy Drew is a cultural icon who continues to inspire young girls to become fearless, active young women in all its positive sense. The character might have evolved through the years but her values and goals have not—which is a good thing so that she might continue her good influence among her fans and readers.