To chase down a lead on a crime she would interrupt a date with her boyfriend and relentlessly investigate. She was proud of her intelligence and uncommon good common sense. Here is the history of her literary development.
We loved Nancy Drew and managed to buy or borrow all the 56 original stories. At book report time, in front of the class we discussed the plot line of "The Mystery of the Tolling Bell."
Yet, so many of us remained conventional. We had our hearts set on marriage. In college we majored in subjects like English, History, and Psychology. We were going to be teachers or social workers.
It took a movement - the second wave of feminism - to veer us away from that Eisenhower conservatism. That gave us permission to do anything we wanted to do, just like Nancy also had. I was even in law enforcement for a while.
The amazing thing is that there had been classrooms across America filled with young girls who read read read all those Nancy Drew mysteries. But there was no questioning: How come our mothers never solved crimes? And why were we superimposing the criteria for being a "lady" on our most minute behavior?
Books can be game changers. The Nancy Drew series wasn't, was it.