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text 2018-11-19 01:27
The Bungalow Mystery - update ND3.1
The Bungalow Mystery - P.M. Carlson,Russell H. Tandy,Carolyn Keene
The Bungalow Mystery - Carolyn Keene

Reading the 1930 & 1960 versions of The Bungalow Mystery simultaneously, comparing differences in the story and characters, and pondering dated plot points. Spoilers: full plot description below!

 

1930 Chs 1-3 vs 1960 Chs 1-2

 

1930 Nancy and Helen, her buddy from the last two books, are having a nice summer afternoon boating adventure on the lake when a violent storm comes up out of nowhere. Their boat sinks before they can get back to shore and there’s an unreasonably exciting scene where Helen, who is a weak swimmer, nearly drowns Nancy by clutching at her in a panic. Unreasonable, because it’s Chapter One and you know they’re both going to survive, but it’s really pretty well written, even with the cliché of exhausted Nancy trying to tow Helen to shore and Helen pitifully telling Nancy to leave her and save herself, and Nancy grimly determined to save them both. Anyway, another girl in a boat shows up, having heard their shouts for help, and rescues them. While Helen lays in the bottom of the boat like a dead fish, Nancy takes over for the exhausted girl at the oars.

 

Once they get to shore, the girls shelter in a boathouse until the storm blows over, and the new girl tells them her story. Laura Pendleton is a wealthy young lady who has been recently orphaned, and she’s staying at a hotel on the lake where she will be meeting her court appointed guardian, Jacob Aborn. She’s grieving and lonely and afraid, because her guardian is a stranger to her. The girls exchange invitations to visit and part company.

 

The 1960 version is similar, except that instead of Helen panicking like a ninny so Nancy can look extra competent by comparison, 1960 Helen has her arms somehow paralyzed by the boat hitting her when it sank. Laura inexplicably tells them her whole story while they’re still out in the storm trying to make it to shore, and the boathouse that they shelter in has a second story that’s set up like a small apartment – this difference will be a significant plot point later. Jacob is a distant relation in this version, and is to be accompanied by his wife Marion. I can’t find any reason for this change that serves the plot, except it gives the author a chance to illustrate a “bad” woman.

 

Considerations: A couple of things caught my interest. In the 1930 version, the girls pull on oilskins, but in the 1960 version, they put on plastic raincoats. So I fell into an internet rabbit hole reading about the history and evolution of waterproof outwear technology. Apparently, the oilskins would have been made from cloth impregnated with a petroleum-based wax. It seems that most of the innovations in waterproofing technology occurred somewhat later than the 1960 date of the revision, but by the late 1950’s there were “plastic ‘macs’ aka (by brand name) Pakamacs (made from extruded sheet plastic with welded seams and no fabric at all).”

 

Another curiosity is that the 1960 girls did look unsuccessfully for life jackets before the boat sank, but this isn’t mentioned at all in the 1930 version. Another internet rabbit hole later, I can say that life preservers did not become mandatory in personal watercraft until 1973. In fact, even at the time of the 1960 rewrite, the available technology was so poor that it’s highly unlikely a lake resort motel boat would have even had a life jacket designed to hold an unconscious person’s head and face out of the water, so although it might have helped Nancy keep Helen afloat, with her useless arms, she still would have had to struggle to keep her face above water in the rough, stormy water.

 

Dated Plot Points: Nobody with commonsense is going to be caught out on the lake in a storm today, assuming they have a smartphone with a weather app and weather alerts. Although I suppose they could be out of a service area. Since they are only 40 miles from River Heights, though, that seems unlikely. Also, mandatory life jackets, floatation cushions, and a radio for help. We had all these things on our 16 foot ski boat, so I assume they would be available on a resort motel’s motor boat.

 

Cult of Domesticity: One striking difference in the revisions is the significant amount text devoted to demonstrating that Nancy, despite her intelligence and determined, inquisitive nature, is still compliant with the virtues of feminine domesticity. In the 1960 version, we are treated to a full explanation of the girls drying out their wet clothes, making a nice cup of hot chocolate, washing their dishes and tidying up, and leaving a note of thanks to the boathouse’s owners. The 1930 girls just shelter until the storm blows over and take off after.  

 

The 24 Tasks of the Festive Season 2018: Dia de los Muertos (Nov. 1) – Book: Re-read an old favorite from a now-deceased author, a book from a finished (dead) series, or a book set in Mexico.

 

Index of Posts:

ND3 Reading start

ND3 Reading finish

ND3.0

ND3.1 (pending)

ND3.2 (pending)

ND3.3 (pending)

ND3.4 (pending)

ND3.5 (pending)

ND3.6 (pending)

ND3.7 (pending)

ND3.8 (pending)

ND3.9 (pending)

 

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text 2018-11-18 16:28
ND3.0 The Nancy Drew Project, con’t for The Bungalow Mystery
The Bungalow Mystery - P.M. Carlson,Russell H. Tandy,Carolyn Keene
The Bungalow Mystery - Carolyn Keene

Three years ago, I was inspired by a fellow Bookliker to embark on a project to read through my Nancy Drew collection, in order, and comparing the original to the revised texts. It has been slow work, so I’m just now getting to the third book in the series, “The Bungalow Mystery”.  I’d better pick up my pace, if I’m to finish in my lifetime, as of the original series, 34 of them have multiple text versions.

 

Background: The Nancy Drew Mystery Stories began as a girls’ adventure series in 1930 by the Stratemeyer Syndicate, written by various authors under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene, following the story idea and outline provided by the Syndicate. Starting in 1959, the books were rewritten, condensing them to 20 chapters/180 pages, modernizing the stories, and eliminating some of the racist stereotypes found in the original stories. Some revisions only updated the stories, but others featured extensive revisions and sometimes even a completely new story. The Bungalow Mystery was originally written in 1930 by Mildred A. Wirt Benson and revised in 1960 by Harriet Stratemeyer Adams. The revisions are less extreme, although as usual the updated version is more poorly written and far less interesting, having introduced more characters and needless subplots in a condensed page count. Not to mention the significant changes in Nancy's character, who is a feisty, reckless, independent girl in 1930, but is sweetened up and made far more demure and traditionally feminine in the revision. I’ll post the chapter comparisons over the next several days.

 

Updated shelfie of my Nancy Drew collection: Starting with the books I owned and loved as a girl, I’ve added to it over the years from junk shops, used bookstores, and online purchases, with a goal of owning a copy of each format – original and revised texts, illustrations, and cover art. It is not yet complete, but I’ve hit a few bonanzas this year, so it’s now taking up 5 rows of shelves.

 

Book Challenge & Tags: Lucky for me, this book fits the Dia de los Muertes door in the 24 Festive Tasks of the Holiday Season 2018. All my posts in this project use the tag Nancy Drew Project.

 

Index of Posts:

ND3 Reading start

ND3 Reading finish

ND3.0 (current post)

ND3.1 (pending)

ND3.2 (pending)

ND3.3 (pending)

ND3.4 (pending)

ND3.5 (pending)

ND3.6 (pending)

ND3.7 (pending)

ND3.8 (pending)

ND3.9 (pending)

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text 2018-11-14 13:29
The Bungalow Mystery - finished reading

Sorry I've been absent the last several days. I'm using the Dia de los Muertos book task to further my Nancy Drew Project, and to simultaneously read and compare two versions of the same book requires some focused concentration on my part. I'm done reading both 1930 and 1960 versions and now just need to write it up and start posting. 

The Bungalow Mystery - P.M. Carlson,Russell H. Tandy,Carolyn Keene  The Bungalow Mystery - Carolyn Keene  The Bungalow Mystery #3 - Carolyn Keene  

There are only 2 text versions, but I love the new cover art on the most recent printing.

 

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text 2018-11-07 12:19
The Bungalow Mystery - 0/204 pg
The Bungalow Mystery - P.M. Carlson,Russell H. Tandy,Carolyn Keene
The Bungalow Mystery - Carolyn Keene

The next book for my Nancy Drew project fits right in the Dia de los Muertos book category, so here we go!

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review 2018-10-23 14:21
Old School Nancy Drew Does Not Hold Up
The Secret of the Old Clock: 80th Anniversary Limited Edition - Carolyn Keene

I was just as shocked as anyone when I started to read "The Secret of the Old Clock" and found Nancy to be annoying. She and the other characters are sketched so thin and the whole story in this one was just off-putting. I also didn't think that Nancy was some great detective. She went snooping (those meddling kids) in order to find a missing will and also because she disliked the relatives who stood to inherit. 

 

"The Secret of the Old Clock" has Nancy Drew in her first stand alone mystery. Nancy is 16 in this one I think. She ends up driving along and almost hits a kid and ends up stopping to see to her. Doing that, she ends up meeting two sisters, (the Turners) who are poor and struggling to raise the kid (sorry about not remembering her name she was so unimportant though). The Turners not knowing Nancy at all tell her about the fact that they were counting on inheriting money when their rich older relative, Josiah Crowley passed away. They tell Nancy he promised to provide for them so they are confused now that he has passed, he left everything to the family he was staying with, the Topham's. 

 

There is very little development in any character in this book. We hear how attractive Nancy is, we know that Hannah is the housekeeper/mother figure who is always making Nancy her meals. Nancy's father, Carson Drew, is an attorney and is all yes my dear you must investigate, but do be careful. 

 

I also thought it was kind of gross that you had three separate groups of people aside from the Turners who were all pretty upfront about saying that Josiah was going to leave them money. It didn't seem as if anyone even cared that the old guy had passed away to me. And the shaming of the Tophams for wanting expensive things and Nancy and her father acting as if they were low-class for having expensive things was surprising to me. I read later on that this book was a slam on the noveau-riche class and I can definitely understand that. Apparently if you don't have old money, you just don't belong. 

 

This book also takes place in the 1930s so there is some definite language that is old-fashioned. And I maybe laughed at the idea of anyone talking about how expensive it was for singing and dancing lessons. The way the book is written, the aunts were going to need thousands upon thousands of dollars for that. 

 

The ending was okay, we have Nancy realizing pretty quickly were the will ended up and then it was her somehow dealing with a gang of thieves (as one does) in order to obtain the will. Everyone lives happily ever after, except for the Tophams. 

 

 

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