Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Confessions of a Teen Sleuth by Chelsea Cain
So as it turns out, Nancy Drew, girl detective, was actually a living person*. She told several of her adventures to her college roommate Caroline Keene. Caroline wrote the stories out and used them to write a series of books. Nancy's major objection was how often Caroline got things wrong. At her death, Nancy sent a manuscript to author Chelsea Cain in order to clear up the facts. That manuscript makes up Confessions of a Teen Sleuth.
Every chapter contains a different mystery, and with every chapter, Nancy gets older and older. It becomes incredibly sad to read about a 50-year-old woman still calling herself a girl detective. There's some serious drama in this "real" story. Nancy finds out that her mother is not actually dead, but living her own adventurous life. Then comes the juicy romantic details. Nancy was in love with Hardy Boys' Frank. They even had a love child together. Frank and Nancy weren't meant to be (She said that it was as if they lived in seperate worlds). She married "special friend" Ned Nickerson and named her son Ned Jr. Yet, no matter how she tried to settle down to a domestic life, Nancy felt herself being pulled to solve the mysteries around her. She becomes estranged from Ned and Ned Jr. in a similar way that her own mother became estranged from her.
Confessions of a Teen Sleuth contains lots of cameos from other teen detective stories, including the Hardy Boys, Cherry Ames (Star of a series of nursing books), the Bobbsey twins, Trixie Belden, even the Wakefields have a tiny mention. Encyclopedia Brown appears as a tubby middle-aged detective who still lives with his mother. This book is ridiculous, but that is really to be expected. It states that it is a parody right on the cover. There are some moments that made me snicker a bit, but a lot of the humor is the equivalent of reading a movie movie (As if the viewers of movie movies can read). Obviously, Chelsea Cain read lots of Nancy Drew in order to get the details right, right down to Nancy's titian hair. I wouldn't say that this book is raping your childhood, assuming that childhood contained lots of Nancy Drew. It's really more of a minor assault charge with some consensual snogging of childhood memories, snarking with love.
*In the novel Confessions of a Teen Sleuth. Nancy Drew was not actually real...as far as I know.