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2 Hawthorne Children's- Nancy Drew

Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her

by

Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her Cover

ISBN13: 9780156030564
ISBN10: 015603056x
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

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Awards

2006 Edgar Award for Best Critical/Biographical

Review-A-Day

"And now, for Nancy Drew fanciers old and young, comes Melanie Rehak's Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her. With her first sentence ('Grab your magnifying glass, because this is a mystery story') Rehak shows she has a finger on the pulse of the faithful. A proper sleuth for grown-up girls, Rehak — in prose steely, lovely, and precise — explores why Nancy Drew has remained so popular since her arrival, in 1930, and answers the question: Who was the mysterious Carolyn Keene?" Sandra Tsing Loh, the Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A plucky "titian-haired" sleuth solved her first mystery in 1930. Eighty million books later, Nancy Drew has survived the Depression, World War II, and the sixties (when she was taken up with a vengeance by women's libbers) to enter the pantheon of American girlhood. As beloved by girls today as she was by their grandmothers, Nancy Drew has both inspired and reflected the changes in her readers' lives. Now, in a narrative with all the vivid energy and page-turning pace of Nancy's adventures, Melanie Rehak solves an enduring literary mystery: Who created Nancy Drew? And how did she go from pulp heroine to icon?

The brainchild of children's book mogul Edward Stratemeyer, Nancy was brought to life by two women: Mildred Wirt Benson, a pioneering journalist from Iowa, and Harriet Stratemeyer Adams, a well-bred wife and mother who took over as CEO after her father died. In a century-spanning story Rehak traces their roles — and Nancy's — in forging the modern American woman. With ebullience, wit, and a wealth of little-known source material, Rehak celebrates our unstoppable girl detective.

Review:

"The intrepid Nancy Drew has given girls a sense of their own power since she was born, Athena-like, from the mind of Edward Stratemeyer in 1929 and raised after his death in 1930 by his daughter Harriet Stratemeyer Adams and Mildred Wirt Benson, a journalist who was the first to write the novels under the pen name Carolyn Keene. Poet and critic Rehak invigorates all the players in the Drew story, and it's truly fun to see behind the scenes of the girl sleuth's creation, her transformation as different writers took on the series, and the publishing phenomenon — the highly productive Stratemeyer Syndicate machine — that made her possible. Rehak's most ambitious choice is to reflect on how Nancy Drew mirrors girls' lives and the ups and downs of the women's movement. This approach is compelling, but not particularly well executed. Rehak's breathless prose doesn't do justice to the complexity of the large social trends she describes, and tangents into Feminism 101 derail the story that really works — the life of a publishing juggernaut. All the same, Stratemeyer himself would undoubtedly say that the story is worth telling. Drew fans are likely to agree. 8 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW. Agent, the Wylie Agency. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Packed with revealing anecdotes, Rehak's meticulously researched account...will delight fans of the beloved gumshoe whose gumption guaranteed that every reprobate got his due." Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"A breezy social history." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"As a literary biography, Girl Sleuth is necessarily tangled, since the Nancy Drew mysteries...had numerous parents. But Rehak does a terrific job of bringing to life the writers and editors who constituted Carolyn Keene, the pseudonymous author of the series." Kate Arthur, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"In her evenhanded, readable book, Rehak does a good job of exploring the class tensions between the two creators....[A]n enjoyable, thorough piece of detective work. It would earn a nod of approval from Nancy Drew herself." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Review:

"In this well-researched and fluidly paced book, Rehak delivers a complex interweaving of the writers' biographies with the context of their times....Rehak writes with gusto and intelligence....Nancy would be so proud." Chicago Tribune

Review:

"Melanie Rehak unspools the fascinating story of how Nancy came to be....[A]bsorbing and delightful..." Wall Street Journal

Review:

"Whatever becomes of [Nancy's] future...Rehak has given her past its due in this vivid, unpretentious and sympathetic history." Newsday

Review:

"Rehak sheds light on perhaps the most successful writing franchise of all time and also the cultural and historic changes through which it passed. Grab your flashlights, girls. The mystery of Carolyn Keene is about to begin." Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club

Review:

"Girl Sleuth is meticulously researched, elegantly written, and riveting. Melanie Rehak juxtaposes teen sleuth Nancy Drew's omnipotence with the all-too-real struggles of her creators." Susan Kandel, author of Not a Girl Detective

Synopsis:

The brainchild of children's book mogul Edward Stratemeyer, Nancy Drew was brought to life by two women. In a century-spanning story, Rehak traces their roles — and Nancy's — in forging the modern American woman.

Synopsis:

Winner of the Edgar Award for Best Biography * A Chicago Tribune Best Book of 2005* Winner of the Agatha Award for Non-Fiction 

 "A feat of daring worthy of Nancy herself." –Los Angeles Times

Nancy Drew has survived the Depression, World War II, and the sixties to enter the pantheon of American girlhood. Here, with all the vivid energy and page-turning pace of Nancys adventures, is the first behind-the-scenes history of our beloved girl detective. Behind the blue roadster, cloche hats, uncanny timing, and constant presence in the lives of American girls lies an enduring literary mystery: Who created Nancy Drew? And how did she go from pulp heroine to icon? Melanie Rehak has put together the clues and tracked down the suspects; grab your flashlights and join the gang as we find out the truth about Nancy Drew.

"Such an engrossing read that it made me hungry for some Nancy Drews. Rehak writes with gusto and intelligence. Nancy would be so proud."--Chicago Tribune

"Absorbing. Girl Sleuth is an enjoyable, thorough piece of detective work." – The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)

"A proper sleuth for grown-up girls. Prose [that is] steely, lovely, and precise." – The Atlantic Monthly

Melanie Rehak is a poet and critic. A recipient of the New York Public Library's Tukman Fellowship at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, she writes for the New York Times Magazine, the New Yorker, Vogue, and the Nation, among others. She lives in Brooklyn.

Synopsis:

In 1930 a plucky girl detective stepped out of her shiny blue roadster, dressed in a smart tweed suit, ready to restore a stolen inheritance to its rightful owner. Tied up by the villains, she managed to free herself and bring them to justice - all while wearing a pencil skirt and high heels. Eighty million books later, Nancy Drew has survived the Depression, World War II, and the sixties (when she was taken up with a vengeance by women's libbers), and emerged as beloved by girls today as she was by their grandmothers. Now, in a narrative with all the fast-paced thrill of one of Nancy's adventures, Melanie Rehak solves a page-turning literary mystery: Who created Nancy Drew? And how did she go from pulp heroine to American icon?

With ebullience, wit, and a wealth of little-known source material, Rehak weaves a behind-the-scenes history of Nancy and her groundbreaking creators. Taking us from The Secret of the Old Clock to The Secret of the Spa, Rehak tells all about our fearless sleuth - including the fact that both Nancy and her "author," Carolyn Keene, were invented by Edward Stratemeyer, a dime-novel genius who also created the Bobbsey Twins and the Hardy Boys. But Nancy Drew was actually 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 transformed herself into a CEO to run 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.

Melanie Rehak will send you back to your old Nancy Drews — but thanks to GIRL SLEUTH you'll never read them the same way again.

About the Author

Melanie Rehak is a poet and critic. A recipient of the New York Public Library's Tukman Fellowship at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, she writes for the New York Times Magazine, the New Yorker, Vogue, and the Nation, among others. She lives in Brooklyn.

Table of Contents

The Stratemeyer Clan 1

Mildred 33

Alma Mater 48

Hawkeye Days 73

Nell Cody, Helen Hale, Diana Dare 90

Nancy Drew Land 110

Syndicate for Sale 126

An Unfortunate Break; or, The Cleveland Writer Comes into Her Own 140

Motherhood and Nancy Drew 168

"They Are Nancy" 197

The Kids Are Hep 224

Nancy in the Age of Aquarius 254

Will the Real Carolyn Keene Please Stand Up? 288

Acknowledgments 315

Notes 318

Bibliography 351

Index 355

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Debra Hamel/book-blog.com, November 25, 2006 (view all comments by Debra Hamel/book-blog.com)
Melanie Rehak has written a fascinating history of Nancy Drew, the preternaturally competent girl sleuth whose series of mysteries was one of some two dozen published by the Stratemeyer Syndicate. The Syndicate's books, including the Hardy Boys mysteries, were the product of collaboration between Edward Stratemeyer, who created the Syndicate in 1905, and his stable of ghostwriters. Stratemeyer created Nancy Drew in 1929 and assigned the job of writing the books to Mildred Wirt, the first of two strong-willed women who would be inextricably linked with the girl detective. After Stratemeyer's death in 1930 the Syndicate was run by his daughter, Harriet. Much of Rehak's book is focused on the contentious relationship between Harriet and Mildred: the Syndicate was jealous of its properties, and Harriet was a fierce guardian of the secrets behind the books' authorship. The uneasy relationship between the two women makes Rehak's book that much more compelling.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(9 of 16 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780156030564
Author:
Rehak, Melanie
Publisher:
Harvest Books
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Popular Culture
Subject:
Children's 12-Up - Biography / Autobiography
Subject:
American fiction
Subject:
Women and literature
Subject:
Editors, Journalists, Publishers
Subject:
Popular Culture - General
Subject:
Drew, nancy (fictitious character)
Subject:
Women and literature -- United States.
Subject:
Biography & Autobiography : Literary
Subject:
Children s Young Adult-Biography
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20060931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 9 up to 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
One 8-page black-and-white photo insert
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
8 x 5.31 in 0.8 lb
Age Level:
from 14

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Related Subjects

Biography » Literary
Biography » Women
Children's » Nonfiction » Biographies
Children's » Series » General
Children's » Series » Nancy Drew
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
Humanities » Literary Criticism » Literary and Cultural Studies
Young Adult » Nonfiction » Biographies

Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.50 In Stock
Product details 384 pages Harvest Books - English 9780156030564 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The intrepid Nancy Drew has given girls a sense of their own power since she was born, Athena-like, from the mind of Edward Stratemeyer in 1929 and raised after his death in 1930 by his daughter Harriet Stratemeyer Adams and Mildred Wirt Benson, a journalist who was the first to write the novels under the pen name Carolyn Keene. Poet and critic Rehak invigorates all the players in the Drew story, and it's truly fun to see behind the scenes of the girl sleuth's creation, her transformation as different writers took on the series, and the publishing phenomenon — the highly productive Stratemeyer Syndicate machine — that made her possible. Rehak's most ambitious choice is to reflect on how Nancy Drew mirrors girls' lives and the ups and downs of the women's movement. This approach is compelling, but not particularly well executed. Rehak's breathless prose doesn't do justice to the complexity of the large social trends she describes, and tangents into Feminism 101 derail the story that really works — the life of a publishing juggernaut. All the same, Stratemeyer himself would undoubtedly say that the story is worth telling. Drew fans are likely to agree. 8 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW. Agent, the Wylie Agency. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "And now, for Nancy Drew fanciers old and young, comes Melanie Rehak's Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her. With her first sentence ('Grab your magnifying glass, because this is a mystery story') Rehak shows she has a finger on the pulse of the faithful. A proper sleuth for grown-up girls, Rehak — in prose steely, lovely, and precise — explores why Nancy Drew has remained so popular since her arrival, in 1930, and answers the question: Who was the mysterious Carolyn Keene?" Sandra Tsing Loh, the Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review
"Review" by , "Packed with revealing anecdotes, Rehak's meticulously researched account...will delight fans of the beloved gumshoe whose gumption guaranteed that every reprobate got his due."
"Review" by , "A breezy social history."
"Review" by , "As a literary biography, Girl Sleuth is necessarily tangled, since the Nancy Drew mysteries...had numerous parents. But Rehak does a terrific job of bringing to life the writers and editors who constituted Carolyn Keene, the pseudonymous author of the series."
"Review" by , "In her evenhanded, readable book, Rehak does a good job of exploring the class tensions between the two creators....[A]n enjoyable, thorough piece of detective work. It would earn a nod of approval from Nancy Drew herself."
"Review" by , "In this well-researched and fluidly paced book, Rehak delivers a complex interweaving of the writers' biographies with the context of their times....Rehak writes with gusto and intelligence....Nancy would be so proud."
"Review" by , "Melanie Rehak unspools the fascinating story of how Nancy came to be....[A]bsorbing and delightful..."
"Review" by , "Whatever becomes of [Nancy's] future...Rehak has given her past its due in this vivid, unpretentious and sympathetic history."
"Review" by , "Rehak sheds light on perhaps the most successful writing franchise of all time and also the cultural and historic changes through which it passed. Grab your flashlights, girls. The mystery of Carolyn Keene is about to begin."
"Review" by , "Girl Sleuth is meticulously researched, elegantly written, and riveting. Melanie Rehak juxtaposes teen sleuth Nancy Drew's omnipotence with the all-too-real struggles of her creators."
"Synopsis" by , The brainchild of children's book mogul Edward Stratemeyer, Nancy Drew was brought to life by two women. In a century-spanning story, Rehak traces their roles — and Nancy's — in forging the modern American woman.
"Synopsis" by ,
Winner of the Edgar Award for Best Biography * A Chicago Tribune Best Book of 2005* Winner of the Agatha Award for Non-Fiction 

 "A feat of daring worthy of Nancy herself." –Los Angeles Times

Nancy Drew has survived the Depression, World War II, and the sixties to enter the pantheon of American girlhood. Here, with all the vivid energy and page-turning pace of Nancys adventures, is the first behind-the-scenes history of our beloved girl detective. Behind the blue roadster, cloche hats, uncanny timing, and constant presence in the lives of American girls lies an enduring literary mystery: Who created Nancy Drew? And how did she go from pulp heroine to icon? Melanie Rehak has put together the clues and tracked down the suspects; grab your flashlights and join the gang as we find out the truth about Nancy Drew.

"Such an engrossing read that it made me hungry for some Nancy Drews. Rehak writes with gusto and intelligence. Nancy would be so proud."--Chicago Tribune

"Absorbing. Girl Sleuth is an enjoyable, thorough piece of detective work." – The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)

"A proper sleuth for grown-up girls. Prose [that is] steely, lovely, and precise." – The Atlantic Monthly

Melanie Rehak is a poet and critic. A recipient of the New York Public Library's Tukman Fellowship at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, she writes for the New York Times Magazine, the New Yorker, Vogue, and the Nation, among others. She lives in Brooklyn.

"Synopsis" by ,
In 1930 a plucky girl detective stepped out of her shiny blue roadster, dressed in a smart tweed suit, ready to restore a stolen inheritance to its rightful owner. Tied up by the villains, she managed to free herself and bring them to justice - all while wearing a pencil skirt and high heels. Eighty million books later, Nancy Drew has survived the Depression, World War II, and the sixties (when she was taken up with a vengeance by women's libbers), and emerged as beloved by girls today as she was by their grandmothers. Now, in a narrative with all the fast-paced thrill of one of Nancy's adventures, Melanie Rehak solves a page-turning literary mystery: Who created Nancy Drew? And how did she go from pulp heroine to American icon?

With ebullience, wit, and a wealth of little-known source material, Rehak weaves a behind-the-scenes history of Nancy and her groundbreaking creators. Taking us from The Secret of the Old Clock to The Secret of the Spa, Rehak tells all about our fearless sleuth - including the fact that both Nancy and her "author," Carolyn Keene, were invented by Edward Stratemeyer, a dime-novel genius who also created the Bobbsey Twins and the Hardy Boys. But Nancy Drew was actually 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 transformed herself into a CEO to run 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.

Melanie Rehak will send you back to your old Nancy Drews — but thanks to GIRL SLEUTH you'll never read them the same way again.

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