On April 28, Nancy Drew, the 18-year-old sleuth who has charmed readers for decades turned 80.
Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and Sonia Sotomayor all cite Nancy Drew as an influence, but these three successful women are of a very different generation than mine. So you have to question the appeal of this series today.
Nancy Drew is a quintessential teenage female character and there are none quite like her. She’s quirky, witty, and not afraid to stand her ground. That, I think, accounts for her lasting impact on pop culture. When I was younger, I loved the Nancy Drew series; my sisters and I read all or most of the books. But we learned about these books because our mother loved them as a child. She shared them with us, and if we can love Nancy, there is no reason why future readers won’t as well.
This massive generational appeal (mothers passing Nancy Drew onto their daughters) also accounts for why the franchise was revisited in 2007, when Emma Roberts starred in a film adaptation of the series.
It is by no means a great adaptation of the series. The best way for Nancy Drew to be remade today is as television series. But what this film adaptation and its (alleged) upcoming sequel show is that Nancy Drew will continue to have a lasting presence in American pop culture.
If you love Nancy Drew, be sure to check out the 80th anniversary edition of The Secret of the Old Clock.