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Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who…
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Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her (original 2005; udgave 2006)

af Melanie Rehak (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
8054420,063 (3.66)100
In 1930 a plucky girl detective stepped out of her shiny blue roadster, dressed in a smart tweed suit. Eighty million books later, Nancy Drew has survived the Depression, World War II, and the sixties, and emerged as beloved by girls today as by their grandmothers. Rehak tells the behind-the-scenes history of Nancy and her groundbreaking creators. Both Nancy and her "author," Carolyn Keene, were invented by Edward Stratemeyer, who also created the Bobbsey Twins and the Hardy Boys. But Nancy Drew was brought to life by two remarkable women: original author Mildred Wirt Benson, a convention-flouting Midwestern journalist, and Harriet Stratemeyer Adams, a wife and mother who ran her father's company after he died. Together, Benson and Adams created a character that has inspired generations of girls to be as strong-willed and as bold as they were.--From publisher description.… (mere)
Medlem:Rosa.Mill
Titel:Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her
Forfattere:Melanie Rehak (Forfatter)
Info:Mariner Books (2006), 384 pages
Samlinger:Read Off My Bookshelf
Vurdering:****
Nøgleord:nonfiction, biography-memoir, 2009

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Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her af Melanie Rehak (2005)

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Viser 1-5 af 44 (næste | vis alle)
Ok...first some Nancy Drew fan-girling....then my review of this book.

When I saw this book in my local library, I snapped it right up! Although Trixie Belden is my girl detective of choice ever since my teenage years in the 80's, I also enjoyed Nancy Drew. There's just something about a teenage girl sleuth that draws a young girl in to these books. Back in the day, I had the entire Trixie Belden series in paperback, and dutifully traveled to Waldenbooks in the city to pick up the last two books, published in 1986. I remember being so excited that there were new Trixie stories that I actually waited to read them. I had to build up some courage to read the final books. I knew when I finished those last books that it was over....no more Trixie. I still do that sometimes when I'm on the last book of a good series! It's hard to say goodbye to characters when a series is ending.

Trixie and Nancy Drew really started my love of books. Those were the books I CHOSE to read, rather than the books I HAD to read for school. Being forced to read a book just takes a bit of the enjoyment out of it. Laying across your bed with the cat completely engrossed in a story til your Mom yells at you that you're holding up dinner.....then getting lectured for bringing a book to the table....that's enjoying a book! You never would have caught me getting in trouble for bringing The Red Badge of Courage to the dinner table. The exciting adventures of girl amateur sleuths were worth inciting The Wrath of Mom. Classic force-reads...not so much. I babysat my horrendous (he was so naughty and spoiled!) nephew in the summer to earn money to spend on Trixie books. A new $1.25 non-creased, new-book-smell paperback was worth all the whining, coloring on the walls and temper tantrums in the world to me. My whole bookshelf was filled with lovely 80's version tan cover much beloved Trixie paperbacks (that shows how many times I had to babysit that nightmare nephew!). But on the very top....held up with mismatched bookends (one side was a big piece of petrified wood and the other was the piggy bank my dad gave me for my birthday when I was 8. Being between those two prized items (which I still have displayed on my bookshelves even now) was a supreme place of honor!) was a partial row of bright yellow spines (and some blue, too). Nancy Drew! And another series published by the same people -- Hardy Boys!

Now that I have explained how much I loved these books....I can get to my book review. I'm getting there! I'm getting there!

I homed in on this book sitting atop my local library's shelf on display like Trixie jumping on a clue. Gleepers! It's a book about Nancy Drew! It might contain clues about who wrote the books! Egads! :) I was probably one of the only readers who didn't realize Carolyn Keene was a pseudonym used by ghostwriters to churn out this series. In my defense, I was young, naive and didn't realize publishers required some authors to sign away their rights to their work upon payment. Contract work exists to this day. When a paying job comes up, you take it...right? I read a lot of cozy mystery series (probably stemming from my early love of these girl sleuth novels) and cozy authors often contract to write series using another name under contract to a publisher. I don't think it's ever as extreme as with these early series. To this day, I still have never read any information about which authors wrote the Trixie Belden books! I wish I knew!! The in-house writers were all just lumped under the pen-name Kathryn Kenny (after book #6 when Julie Campbell ducked out). It gets complicated! And is still complicated!!!

OK.....Yes, I am finally getting to Melanie Rehak's book. I brought Girl Sleuths home from the library, finished the two books I was reading at the time, and delved into the world of Nancy Drew and early twentieth century syndicate publishing.

Alas, some mysteries are better off left unsolved.

I found this book disappointing. A bit of a let-down. I wanted to the depths of my heart to love, love, love this book --- I naively expected to read about female authors getting to ply their craft and creating this wonderful, beloved girl sleuth and feeling chuffed and fulfilled as each book was published. That couldn't have been further from the truth. In reality, Nancy Drew was created by an early publishing syndicate that churned out many other series aimed at youth. They used ghostwriters, requiring the authors to sign away all rights to their work and paying them a small lump sum for their work. None of the money made from Nancy Drew was ever seen by the woman who penned the first books from 1929-1953, Mildred Wirt. She was paid $125 per book (or less during the depression when the publisher decided the bad economy required them to pay less per book). Working from an outline provided by the publisher and subject to editing of any dialogue or story events that seemed un-ladylike, Wirt churned out many books for the syndicate over the years (not just Nancy Drew), but under her contract was forbidden to claim any of it as her writing or discuss her part in the process. The syndicate was sure that the authors who wrote their books just followed the outlines provided to them without really adding that much to the process.... Really???

Not only was I disappointed to find out the authors of some of my favorite books were victims of blatant publisher contractual mind-rape....but this book is written in a pretty dry format. The book focuses on the founder of the publishing syndicate, Edward Stratemeyer, and his daughter, Harriet, rather than the books, characters or writers of these stories. The book reads like a dissertation....just a spewing forth of facts and dates....rather than a story about the people or books they published. There is very little about creation of the characters or covers for the books, modernization of the books, or what is happening with the series now.....just a lot of mind-numbing facts about the publishing syndicate that kept women at their typewriters for decades with no recognition.....even telling lies about who actually wrote Nancy Drew and other children's series to keep the actual authors identities a secret. It was all a marketing trick.....the books were churned out according to formula outlines and published in such a way to prevent authors from being loved by their readers so that a publishing syndicate could rake in big bucks. What a load of shit.

I love the Nancy Drew books. I love Trixie Belden. But it appears the publishing world that created all of these stories is a mire of greed and just crappy behavior. I'm glad I know the identity of the woman who wrote most of the first Nancy Drew books. But I really couldn't care less about the publishing syndicate that took advantage of her, and others like her, for decades.

Gleepers! What a clue! I know who the crooks are! Egads!

What a let-down.

This book gets a 3 star rating from me.... it's well researched, but presented in a really dry, boring manner and just focuses too much on the Stratemeyers. Just a little bit more about the actual writing and editing process, the popularity of the series and other books based on this formula, how they developed new series, development of the characters over time, the decisions to edit the earlier books to modernize the characters, and where the series is going now would have been so interesting. But the book mostly dwells on the Stratemeyers, their publishing syndicate and its use of contracts to control the books, and their heavy-handed editing to maintain lady-like behavior and talk, etc. Ho, hum. It just ended up making me a mixture of angry and sad.

( )
  JuliW | Nov 22, 2020 |
I read this in college and it opened my eyes, on finding a copy on our first venture out this past weekend in a second hand shop I figured it was time to give it another go since I've read a few of the original Nancy Drews now.

'Girl Sleuth' traces the history of the 'Nancy Drew' series from its genesis in a memo from the Stratemeyer Syndicate to the cultural momentum Nancy Drew had achieved by the end of the 20th century. The focus is on the original author of the series, Mildred Wirt Benson, and editor Harriet Adams Stratemeyer who shepherded the series and, infamously, revised the original books and claimed sole authorship for decades.

The story is a fascinating one. It is very hard to feel sympathy for Adams, but Rehak does a fine job on Adams' background and restrictions and the hardships she faced as a woman in a man's industry. Benson, on the other hand, was an amazing woman who would be noteworthy even without her having ghost-written Nancy. A journalist, pilot and - though she refused the title - feminist who paved the way for many after her.

I would have liked there to have been more discussion of the racism and classism inherent in the books written in the '30s and '40s. How much was present in the Stratemeyer outlines that Benson couldn't deviate from, written by Harriet and her sister for the most part, and how much did Benson add? Rehak goes straight into the era when the books needed to be revised. Those images, stereotypes and ideas were a part of the times, but they were not mandatory. Did Benson ever make a statement of regret? Did Adams?

Still a good read for those of us who can't get enough Nancy Drew. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Jun 4, 2020 |
This is a thorough look behind the scenes at the Nancy Drew book series -- a biography of the early-1900s children’s book mogul/syndicate-owner Edward Stratemeyer and the two women involved in ghost-writing the books as Carolyn Keene. It’s also a light history of women’s suffrage, women’s rights and the Great Depression, and both women amazed me with their education and confidence of a hundred years ago. Some attention is given to how the series has been updated over the years.

Rehak’s narration begins as straightforward and journalistic but becomes gripping as drama develops in the economy, in the Stratemeyer family, and between the Carolyn Keenes. ( )
  DetailMuse | Feb 11, 2020 |
Enjoyable trip down memory lane. This well-researched book gives us not only the history of everyone's favorite girl detective, but also how Nancy Drew was sometimes a reflection and sometimes a deflection of and from the times in which she "lived." ( )
  AliceAnna | Sep 7, 2019 |
An amazing tale of two women who created & "raised" Nancy Drew and then battled each other for the credit. Of course they should have joined forces in order to get more money out of the men who owned the publishing house. Not only an excellent history of our fave girl sleuth, but also of how girlhood was seen throughout the 20th century.

And yes, I'm that much of a sap that I teared up at the end.
  roniweb | May 30, 2019 |
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In September of 1929 children's book mogul Edward Stratemeyer sent one of his inimitable typed memos to Grosset & Dunlap, his longtime publisher, describing a new line of books he hoped they would launch the following spring.
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In 1930 a plucky girl detective stepped out of her shiny blue roadster, dressed in a smart tweed suit. Eighty million books later, Nancy Drew has survived the Depression, World War II, and the sixties, and emerged as beloved by girls today as by their grandmothers. Rehak tells the behind-the-scenes history of Nancy and her groundbreaking creators. Both Nancy and her "author," Carolyn Keene, were invented by Edward Stratemeyer, who also created the Bobbsey Twins and the Hardy Boys. But Nancy Drew was brought to life by two remarkable women: original author Mildred Wirt Benson, a convention-flouting Midwestern journalist, and Harriet Stratemeyer Adams, a wife and mother who ran her father's company after he died. Together, Benson and Adams created a character that has inspired generations of girls to be as strong-willed and as bold as they were.--From publisher description.

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