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I'm holding out for a hero - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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I'm holding out for a hero [Oct. 28th, 2003|11:00 pm]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |bitchybitchy]
[Current Music |Bare Naked Ladies - Celebrity]

Whenever I’ve visited Amazon of late, it has been recommending Nancy Drew computer games to me.

Nancy was my hero when I was a kid. She was perfect, driving her roadster, her wavy titian hair never getting mussed by the breeze. In the company of slightly chubby Bess and slightly butch Georgina (George), Nancy solved crime after crime. She escaped kidnappers, outwitted murderers, overcame the skeptical disregard of police, and saved her friends, family, and assorted clients from the clutches of evil. All while maintaining a perfect figure, a perfect hairdo, a balanced checkbook, and the chaste devotion of boyfriend Ned Nickerson (whom I mentally picture as looking a bit like Riley Finn from Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

Nancy didn’t have “issues.” Nancy had cases. There was nothing Judy Blume about Nancy. She didn’t whine about problems, she solved them. Nancy was a red-haired amazon. She was a goddess, Artemis striding through the world of forensics and intuition.

I was never going to be Nancy. She was too perfect, too calm, too clever. No one could match her cunning and persistence. Nancy never had angst. When injustice pissed her off, she took up her magnifying glass and got to the bottom of it. She didn’t cry. She feared nothing. If she screamed, it was calculated to attract attention. Nancy knew what she was doing.

In the years that followed, writers more concerned with relating to kids came along. Their protagonists had pimples and baby fat and periods and jerky parents, faithless boyfriends and bitchy gal pals.

Screw that. Give me pristine, strong, balls-y Nancy. Her perfection was something to live up to, not an issue that damaged my self-esteem. I want my heroine dressed, pressed, and cool under fire.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: law_witch
2003-10-28 08:27 pm (UTC)

best thing I learned

from Nancy Drew - have an overnight suitcase in the trunk of your car with a change of seasonal clothes. Not only was she perfect in a very cool way, but if called upon to stay overnight to solve a crime, she had a swimsuit and casual wear for day and an dress for evening. I may never have had her perfection, but that little overnight bag with at least ONE complete change of clothing and toiletries came in damn handy!!

MAN that takes me back!! Remember never being able to put down the book at the end of a chapter??
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[User Picture]From: demetria23
2003-10-28 09:40 pm (UTC)

Re: best thing I learned

That's such a cool icon!

A Nancy Drew novel was the first chapter book I ever read. Now that takes me back.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-10-29 03:17 am (UTC)

Re: best thing I learned

I read them long after I should have stopped, and nothing delighted me more than finding old, old editions at garage sales for 50 cents. Alas, when I moved away I separated the books I wanted my mother to ship from the books that could go to Goodwill, and she mixed up the boxes....
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-10-29 03:15 am (UTC)

Re: best thing I learned

Absolutely. I remember getting yelled at for reading under the bedcovers with a flashlight because I had to know!

I'magine my horror, though, in discovering that the newer editions have "updated" the books, changing the stories and extracting all that 40s-esque language. A misguided belief that kids who don't know what a roadster is will not want to read the books, apparently. Tragic!
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From: ladytabitha
2003-10-29 05:25 am (UTC)
Which means you should totally find the old-school bound versions.

Also, Hardy Boys.
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[User Picture]From: songhawk
2003-10-29 12:09 pm (UTC)

Re: best thing I learned

They've been updating them for years- I once had in my hands the 30s, 50s, and 70s edition of The Secret of Red Gate Farm. Finding the same passages, when she was inevitably kidnapped, in the 30s she whimpered and waited for Ned to save her, in the 50s she still needed to be rescued but was activly defiant, and in the 70s, while Ned still came to the rescue she had fought back hard enough to injure at least one of her captors before being subdued. You go girl!

What I *don't* like at all are the Nancy Drew Casefile- they are the next age level: Nancy is in college and they are all murder mysteries instead of smuggling/kidnappings. I haven't read the junior Nancy Drews (early chapterbooks, ~50-60 pp., characters in emementary school) but I have seen the junior Hardy Boys which are amusingly subtited 'The Clues Brothers'...
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[User Picture]From: queenjade
2003-10-30 08:11 am (UTC)

Re: best thing I learned

Haw! I got yelled at for the same thing... reading Nancy Drew with a flashlight under the covers :)
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[User Picture]From: drasca
2003-10-28 08:38 pm (UTC)

Wow

A return to old school. Hell yeah.

Take back our heroes, our ideals. We know we cannot match them, but we can certainly be better men, better women for their heroic actions.

Hail!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-10-29 03:19 am (UTC)

Re: Wow

And in your mind, while you were reading, you could be Nancy. Why make everyone flawed and angst-y? "Everyone's just as miserable as you" isn't exactly an inspirational message.
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[User Picture]From: sheenaqotj
2003-10-29 09:59 am (UTC)

Re: Wow

Yup yup. Just agreeing. I was talking about Nancy Drew just yesterday.

I told my office-mate: After watching all that "24" and thinking back to my old Nancy Drew books, I've decided to have a code. If I call you up and start talking about something completely bogus that sounds vaguely like work, I'm in deep shit.

Of course, I was just about to take a risk in inviting a stranger over but didn't want to give him the details and wanted a bail out.

Next time maybe I'll use orange juice or rot13 to write secret messages...
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[User Picture]From: jessihiggs
2003-10-28 09:10 pm (UTC)
Even in my "adult" life I aspire to be dressed, pressed, and not a hair out of place. I still admire the women of this world that seem so well put together.

Perfection IS indeed something to strive for.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-10-29 03:20 am (UTC)
I know what you mean. Totally.
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[User Picture]From: loralai
2003-10-28 10:35 pm (UTC)
umm... as much as i liked the ND series, i was always a sucker for the Black Beauty series at heart. i know. shameful.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-10-29 03:23 am (UTC)
Naw, whatever made you happy. I also loved Trixie Belden and the Bobbsie Twins, Kathy Martin and Cherry Ames (I was going to be a nurse, thanks to these - but then there was all this science involved...). Never really got into the horsey thing, I must admit, though my older daughter was wild for them. (The younger one, having been kicked in the head by a horse, is a bit tepid on the beasts.)
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[User Picture]From: hollyqueen
2003-10-29 08:00 am (UTC)

Trixie Belden

Was my hero. She was a smart ass and a tomboy - much more like me than Nancy Drew. Nancy was just too perfect for me, I couldn't relate at all. Things were too easy for her and she had entirely too much money.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-10-29 09:16 am (UTC)

Re: Trixie Belden

Nancy Drew was my fairy tale princess. I adored her. Trixie was fun, but the fact that she had the same problems I did actually made me a little impatient with her. Strange, huh?
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[User Picture]From: sheenaqotj
2003-10-29 09:59 am (UTC)

Re: Trixie Belden

Trixie Belden was _so_ cool! But I'd completely forgotten about her until I read this thread...
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[User Picture]From: loralai
2003-10-29 01:16 pm (UTC)
ramona! and the soup series (i can't remember the actual name). and...what else? the Alanna, girl knight series.

yeah, that would make a girl skittish, wouldn't it? (forgive the pun)
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[User Picture]From: shadesong
2003-10-29 04:17 am (UTC)
Not that it's got much to do with the real point of your post - but Elayna loves those computer games!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-10-29 05:18 am (UTC)
My kids are too old for them, so I was wondering how they were. Glad to hear that she's having fun!
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[User Picture]From: spooke
2003-10-29 04:57 am (UTC)
Hell, what about Anita Blake? ;D
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-10-29 06:41 pm (UTC)
Haven't read her, I must admit.
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[User Picture]From: spooke
2003-10-30 04:36 am (UTC)
Well, I was semi-joking - it's a vampire-hunting character by Laurell K. Hamilton. Another toughie is whatsername, the vampire detective by Tanya Huff. I have to admit, those are the only ones I can think of outside of CJ Cherryh's books.

No one can guess what genres I read!
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[User Picture]From: albumlady
2003-10-29 08:30 am (UTC)
My daughter discovered Nancy Drew last year. She absolutely adores her and is reading all her books.

She likes her so much that last year she was Nancy Drew for Halloween. Only one other kid actually "got" her costumer... Go figure!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-10-29 09:16 am (UTC)
How did she dress up like Nancy Drew?
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[User Picture]From: albumlady
2003-10-29 09:31 am (UTC)
She put on a dress similar to something described in the book, we put on make up, and she carried a huge magnifying glass and a clue around with her. I'll confess, that's not a really obvious costume, but she loved it...
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[User Picture]From: shiftercat
2003-11-01 06:26 pm (UTC)
I never read the Nancy Drew books; for some reason, I have trouble getting into mystery novels, though I enjoy seeing them dramatized. (An exception being the Italian Renaissance Whodunits by Elizabeth Eyre.)

However, I've been into SF and fantasy since before I could read for myself, thanks to my parents, and there are a lot of strong women in those genres. More so in recent years, of course, but even in the earlier stuff they'd show up. My reaction to most of the "teenage problem" books was "who cares?" Nothing exciting or different was going on.

Another way I think I benefited from being raised on speculative fiction is the way relationships are handled in that genre, especially in the books by female authors. None of this crap about centering everything around your One True Love, or "changing" an imperfect guy; frequently the characters would have friendships which would develop into romantic relationships over the course of working together for a common goal.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-11-01 07:38 pm (UTC)
Also good examples. The teen angst thing is just not terribly healthy, in my ever so humble opinion. One of the things I like about the Harry Potter books - the kids are definitely kids and definitely going through the whole kid thing, but they are also doing something.
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