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The Bungalow Mystery (1991)

The Bungalow Mystery (1991)

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3.89 of 5 Votes: 3
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1557091579 (ISBN13: 9781557091574)
applewood books

About book The Bungalow Mystery (1991)

I will probably never get over my girl-crush on Nancy Drew, and this book just confirms that fact. Which is not to say that the series is flawless and beyond criticism - kinda the opposite, really. One thing I've learned from re-reading some of these books as an adult is that whenever you start one, you have basically a fifty-fifty chance of ending up with 190 pages of dated, stupid crap. But this time, I was lucky. This book rocked. That being said, it doesn't escape from the flaws that personify the entire series - at least it's good to see that Carolyn Keene had already established these issues early in the series, and dammit if she didn't stick to them. Several things are to be expected from the Nancy Drew books, and I've taken the time to document them here:1. We will be reminded, rather insistently, that Nancy is perfect. Over and over. She is skinny and pretty and brilliant and everyone loves her and the sooner we all just accept this the sooner we can get back to the mystery solving stuff. 2. Although Nancy lives in a time where teenage girls had about as many personal freedoms as trained dogs and were treated with a similar level of respect, she herself exists in a sort of bubble that makes her exempt from such social limitations. She has her own car, her own money (but, oddly, no apparent source of income), and doesn't seem to have any demands on her time such as a job or school. This is proved in this book, when Nancy decides on a whim to drive upstate for some investigating, and then when it runs long, checks herself into a hotel for the night. This is awesome, but I question the reality of it. 3. Carolyn Keene loves the words "sleuth" and "girl detective" and will use them as many times as she possibly can. 4. The bad guys are easily recognizable, because they are the only characters in the book who are ever rude to anyone. These are the series' main flaws. In the good Nancy Drews, such as this one, these flaws can be overlooked as soon as Nancy starts being a badass. And there's a lot of that here. She survives a boat crash in a storm, breaks into not one but three houses, and manages to escape after the bad guys tie her up. She also taught me a valuable life lesson: if the hotel you're having dinner in leaves souvenir matchbooks on the table, take them, because you are guaranteed to need them in the next few hours. As an added bonus, Nancy's boyfriend Ned Nickerson (affectionately known as "Candy-Ass" in my head) is not present, and in fact may not have been introduced as a character yet. Also conspicuously absent are Nancy's friends, Fat Bess and Butch George, so we don't have to listen to Carolyn Keene delivering backhanded compliments in her narration that would embarrass Regina George. It isn't a great series, to be sure, and by all logic should not get such high ratings. But the fact remains that Nancy Drew is a literary heroine far ahead of her time, and even with all her books' issues, she's still a much better role model than certain contemporary literary ladies I could name.

Our f2f group did a session where we all read one or more original editions of a Nancy Drew as well as the 1960s revised version. Some of us even read one or more of the most recent Nancy Drew series books. We then had a "compare and contrast" discussion that was lots of fun. Very interesting changes in style, characterizations & sociological aspects. Bungalow was the title where I read both versions. I did not enjoy the 1930 Bungalow as much as the '31 Red Gate Farm. Still it was exciting. Some of the driving stuff was funny what with all the dirt roads, tire chains & car troubles that we seldom run into nowadays. In comparing the 1930 & 1960s versions of this story, WOW, what a difference! Nancy of the 60s is a much more social animal with lots of friends and interests (and skills- it became annoying that she was such a super-girl with expertise in almost everything). Modern Nancy also relies much more on 'the system'- bringing in the police, lawyers, neighbors & friends while early Nancy was more of a loner. The newer book also was much more descriptive when it comes to places, clothing, food, etc..The thing that always annoyed the heck out of me about the 1960s Nancy Drew books was the overuse of the word 'sleuth'. In Bungalow I counted it 19 times in 180p- that's once every 9.5 pages on average. Grrrrr. I neglected to do a sleuth count in the 1930 edition but I don't recall grinding my teeth while reading that one so I bet the word did not loom as large back then.

Do You like book The Bungalow Mystery (1991)?

In my quest to read (re-read) all of the Nancy Drew mysteries this year, I have just completed The Bungalow Mystery. I remember reading this one when I was a kid. Once again, it boggles my mind how dependent I've become on my cell phone. Every time Nancy goes off to investigate or sleuth as she calls it, I keep thinking - use your cell phone. Her car breaks down, today she'd be whipping out the cell phone and calling Triple A or using her GPS. Because Nancy doesn't have these modern day devices, it heightens the suspense. I have to chuckle at the language. I teach college English and Communications and wonder if any of my students have ever used "bade" or sleuth for that matter. Considering these are young adult novels, the language is above what most kids read today. Once again "Carolyn Keene" uses a lot of description of food, clothes and is light on descriptions of other things. It is apparent that these books were meant to appeal to young ladies who were going to grow up to be housewives and cook beautiful meals for their husbands and they'd do it all in high heels shoes while wearing pearls. The story is good and keeps me reading. I won't go into detail about the story line; I'll just say that once again Nancy stumbles upon someone needing help and comes to the rescue. This is the second book where Nancy rescues an orphan.

This is the first Nancy Drew book I ever read. E's been going through them very quickly, she loves them, so I wanted to see what she was reading. I must admit, it was better than I thought it would be. There's danger, suspense, and action. The pacing is good-there's never a dull moment! Realistically, an 18 year old girl probably wouldn't and shouldn't sneak into some stranger's house to investigate some potentially dangerous people, but hey, it's fiction, and keeps it exciting. This one had some pretty cool twists in it, and had 2 subplots going, that eventually tied together. I read some other reviews that mentioned the 1930s original version, and how it was very different. I read the 1960 version. I think it's interesting they had to edit it to take out racial stereotypes...I'm kind of curious what the original was like! They also added one of the subplots, so it wasn't just a straightforward revision, it actually added more to the storyline. I do like that it was more complex than just a simple mystery.

While these Nancy Drew stories are not necessarily realistic, they are amusing and enjoyable, and I enjoy reading them to my daughter and she loves hearing them. These original stories all take place in the age before cell phones and computers so Nancy seems to be in great danger many times, though thankfully the bad guys in these stories we have read so far never go past tying people up and disabling cars. No rape, murder, or serious violence. Maybe the Bad Guys all had more of a conscience in the old days. :-)

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