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The Girl Sleuth Paperback – May 1, 1995


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The Girl Sleuth + Nancy Drew and Company: Culture, Gender, and Girls' Series (Culture, Gender, & Girls')
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press; No Edition Stated edition (May 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082031739X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0820317397
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #529,453 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Thoughtful and funny . . . [Mason] argues that the books are worthy of serious study because analyzing them helps us to discover who we really are, and who we want to become."--Boston Globe


"Marvelous . . . Would make a wonderful present for any nostalgic veteran reader of Nancy, Cherry Ames, Judy Bolton and the Bobbseys."--Washington Post


"Insightful, sometimes amusing, observations about the social implications of these series which offered girls the promise of adventure without straying too far from conventional expectations."--Newsday


"Mason's engaging analysis . . . allows a new generation of adults to understand what made the series so irresistible."--Christian Science Monitor


"The well-known writer of adult fiction remembers the girl detective series books she read as a child and takes a critical look at the pleasures and effects of reading these mysteries."--Portland Oregonian


"A lively, readable, rueful look back . . . It's a celebration of the tamed but still heartening message that Nancy Drew provided—the comforting assurance that the world was a mysterious place but that its secrets could be solved by any girl smart and brave enough to try.”--San Jose Mercury News


"Nostalgia with a mordant flourish . . . A delightful exposition of our flawed but nourishing earliest heroines.”--Barbara Grizzuti Harrison, author of An Accidental Autobiography


"Indispensable to the history of women's reading in the U.S. Mason is observant, funny, and opinionated when it comes to her girlhood reading."--Janice Radway, author of A Feeling for Books

About the Author

Bobbie Ann Mason is the author of Feather Crowns (winner of the 1994 Southern Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction), Shiloh and Other Stories, Love Life: Stories, In Country, and Spence + Lila. She resides in Kentucky.

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Melissa on May 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
From Aunt Jane's Girls to Sweet Valley High, series books for girls have been a staple of girls' literary diets. Bobbie Ann Mason (author of "In Country") is one of many who devoured series like The Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew. She looks back at the books with affection and the amused rememberings of adulthood, but also acknowledges some of the faults of the book - especially in matters of racism, stereotyping, bourgeois entitlement and sexism. She also brings some of the lesser-known girl detectives into the spotlight - especially Judy Bolton, a far more satisfying heroine than the rigid, frigid Nancy Drew. If a college course can be taught on Madonna, then this genre definitely deserves study and reflection for its influence on generations of little women.
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful By C. Ebeling on July 25, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading The Girl Sleuth was like getting in a car with a friend at the wheel and going back to the neighborhood where we lived from ages 10 - 12. Together we uncovered the probable reasons why my mother and the school librarian disapproved of Nancy Drew and what those series mysteries did for our self images as women. The overt mainstream racism of the earlier editions of the series books is shocking; it gives me some comfort to think that our culture has grown up in the last few decades to understand how very wrong that thinking was. This book was completed in 1975 when Mason was a young post-doc coming off a Nabokov dissertation. It is relatively free of scholarspeak, though the feminism and Freudian references are starkly of their time. It's not dated, however: Mason writes from the heart as well as the mind and this slim book is a timeless good ride.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By RRP on April 22, 2014
Format: Paperback
Bobbie Ann Mason's book on Girl Sleuths crystallized for me why I loved Trixie Belden and why Nancy Drew left me kind of cold. Any girl that grew up on these series books will find a lot to love and relate to in this volume. As well as very illuminating, it is, at times, laugh out loud funny. You will find yourself cringing and shaking your head in wonder at some of the excerpts from the unrevised versions of the stories from the 30's and 40's. If only I had been introduced to Judy Bolton instead of Nancy Drew! Where was she? Did my library even have her? Did I just overlook her? It's a mystery, but I am sad for my younger self for being deprived of her adventures when I really would have just gobbled them up and waited in suspense for the next one. Well, this book has made me think maybe it's not too late...I'm bidding on a lot offered on ebay today!
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