The other day my son pulled an old Nancy Drew book off the shelf and started reading it.
“Oh, please like it,” I thought. “Please like it.”
There is a special joy that comes from seeing your kids love what you loved as a child: hearing them sing along to your favourite songs, or play your family’s old board games, or sit transfixed through movies that are special to you.
For me, more than anything, it’s books. Sure, I watched plenty of TV as a kid – Diff’rent Strokes, Mork & Mindy, Family Ties – but for me, books always meant more. I would happily disappear into a different world for hours on end.
My kids are getting to the age where they’re ready for the books that I loved as a kid. It’s got me thinking about what my favourite book series were and why I loved them…
Nancy Drew. Nancy was talented at absolutely everything, solved a million mysteries (okay, 175) and had titian hair (whatever the hell colour that was). Sure, she had a boyfriend, Ned Nickerson, but you knew she preferred hanging out with "slightly plump" Bess and tomboy George. Looking back now, what's even more amazing is that the first Nancy Drew book came out in 1930. Oh yeah, girl power existed long before the Spice Girls.
Trixie Belden. I admired Nancy, but I really loved Trixie. She was so much more real... as real as a 13-year-old going on endless holidays and solving mysteries with no parental supervision can be. Trixie had freckles and a "sturdy" build, and came from a poor family (but that was okay, because her best friend, Honey Wheeler, was rich and Trixie could ride her horses). Fake long-lost uncles, precious jewels, sasquatches... I was so sure that when I turned 13, my life would become as exciting as Trixie's. (It didn't.)
The Chronicles Of Narnia. That idea of pushing past fur coats in a wardrobe and finding yourself in another land still gives me a thrill. Tumnus the faun, Reepicheep the mouse, Aslan the lion - it was all so magical. It wasn't until years later that I found out Aslan was supposed to represent Jesus. Well, that went right over my head.