Dear Nancy Drew,
I am a huge Emma Watson fan. I love just about everything she does, especially on the gender equality front. Seeing a sneak peek of her role as Belle in Disney’s new Beauty and the Beast got me thinking about what female character influenced me the most growing up.
To my surprise, it wasn’t Belle. It wasn’t even Hermoine.
It was you.
Thank you for teaching me I didn’t have to love the boring books my mom wanted me to read, like Jane Eyre or A Tale of Two Cities, in order to love reading. I mean, somebody else loved artifacts and archeology as much as I did!
Believe it or not, you were my first lesson in romantic relationships. Smart was attractive. I could read about a girl who had both the boy and the villains trying to bomb her out of her apartment. What more could I want?! And—if the boy wasn’t working for ya, dump him.
I taught myself how to read faster so I could get through your books quicker. Speed reading has stayed with me my entire life and saved my butt multiple times in school. Thank you for giving me the incentive.
You brought me and my sister together. Not only did we patrol our neighborhood with a magnifying glass, in case a nearby murderer left a clue to their conveniently unsolved crime, but your computer games gave us something to bond over.
Your games were the highlight of our summers, and one of the few times we teamed up (I controlled the clicker. She watched and did the screaming.) We would play until I developed a migraine or Mom would boot us outside to do dumb things like “exercise.” (In which case, we brought out our pages of notes and reviewed them while sitting on the pool steps.) These note taking skills took us far in life.
We learned how to problem solve and do things like count in Mayan and look for patterns in code messages and always plug the gas leak first when people tried to kill us.
You even formed my own writing.
I learned some people tell the truth, some don’t. And the most interesting characters had agendas and secrets. I use that technique with my own characters today. You showed me the least assuming people are sometimes the ones to watch. You showed me atmosphere is everything. A glimpse of a ghost is far worst in a creepy squeaky mansion, especially when you yourself are playing or reading at night. (I even branched out into composing film scores thanks to your music.) You showed me pacing and plot, how to use adrenaline to help move said plot, and that the best stories are the ones you can’t put away.
You taught me the coolest people are often the ones who don’t fit in perfectly. Good news for the awkward kid who would rather draw unicorns and set up elaborate traps for their My Little Pony toys than put on makeup.
When Hermoine showed up, I wasn’t even phased. You showed me girls could do research and get into trouble and be the brains behind the wheel long before she showed up.
So thank you, Nancy, for being in my life. I would’ve undoubtedly have been a different person without you.
PS: Husband still refuses to consider naming our first daughter Nancy. I’m so upset.
PPS: You and Lara Croft and Emma should be friends.