Read: The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene
Drinking: Sleepytime Tea, Celestial Seasons
I’m sure I read other novels before this one, but the Nancy Drew series is the first time I remember reading chapter books. I devoured them between first and third grade, and still go back to them when I need a good old-fashioned scare.
In The Secret of the Old Clock, we are introduced to Nancy, a perky girl with a great car. Nancy’s father is a lawyer who has encouraged his daughter’s investigative skills. This first mystery involves Nancy’s desire to help a poor family who have lost their inheritance to rich, snobby distant relatives. She hunts down the rich relative’s will in the titular clock.
While researching for this post, I discovered that this book was originally published in 1930, but that edition was replaced in 1959 with an altered story line and characters. Nancy is less adventurous and uncouth in the newer edition, and racial stereotypes have been removed. From the ever trusty Wikipedia article, it sounds like the 1930 edition is much more interesting, to be honest.
Nancy Drew and the subsequent novels are really great, particularly for pre-teen girls. Nancy is a bit of a Mary-Sue with all her powers and the large amount of freedom she is given by the adults in her life. She is not a great role model, either, since she is solving mysteries and putting herself in serious danger. Nonetheless, this is a great novel and a great series that I have long loved. I highly recommend it.