Monday, February 27, 2006
Life in the Old Girl Yet
Nancy Drew parodies aren't new (one of my favorites is Mabel Maney's Case of the Good-for-Nothing Girlfriend) but Chelsea Cain's Confessions of a Teen Sleuth is exhaustive in trying out the dimensions of a metafictive life. In this "autobiography" (dedicated to Frank Hardy) Nancy is determined to clear up the mistakes made and lies put forth in a series of novels by an old college chum, Carolyn Keene. Nancy has problems of which Carolyn has no idea, such as an ongoing feud with Cherry Ames, simmering when the two meet at Joe Hardy's funeral, and later heating up when they are both on a panel at a feminist conference in 1975 at Vassar, where Nancy scoffs, "she can't even hold down a job. Dude ranch nurse. Cruise Nurse. Private Duty Nurse. Army Nurse. Rest home nurse. Ski nurse. One right after the other." Throughout, the various fiction worlds of the genre heroes intersect, as does Nancy's with the historical events of the twentieth century. Did you know that Hannah Gruen slept with Eisenhower?