I despise, despise scribbled graffiti. But I’ve just been seduced by the graffiti of an apparent teenager, scrawled throughout two of my favorite childhood books.
While sorting donations to a used bookstore, I was about to discard two Nancy Drew books in disgust because they had been liberally scribbled in:
Red ballpoint, red marker, lots of underlining, and messy, messy handwriting.
After reading a few comments, though, I was hooked:
Simple minds, simple pleasures. The squeaky-clean purity of Nancy Drew twerkily twisted in obscene new directions. I like it!
Here are more samples from the two-book series I have dubbed Naughty Nancy, annotated by someone whom I’ve decided to name “Steamy Stacy”.
I’ve marked Stacy’s editorial additions with two asterisks (**) on either side.
“I’ll count,” said Nancy. “When I say ‘three’, heave ho.“
** Oh, how vulgar! **
Stacy makes namby-pamby Nan call one of her equally virginal girlfriends a “ho’?” Yes, it’s a dumb pun (and a shameless overlooking of a missing comma) but it made me snicker along with Stacy.
Alex laughed, then as the conversation became more general, he leaned toward Nancy and whispered,
** Hi, sailor **.
Yup. I laughed again. Sex simply does not exist in the Nancy Drew world. Had Alex said this to the real Nancy Drew, she would have plotzed.
(In Nancyworld terms, this means she would have said “Golly!”, and her eyes would have gotten really big.)
“You and I are going to have a wonderful time together solving the plantation mystery!”
Nancy was startled. She thought the remark most inappropriate, in view of the fact that Alex’s engagement was to be announced soon.
** How daring! What a cad! ** adds Stacy, sarcastically.
I’m with Steamy Stacy: Even for 1957, when this text was copyrighted, Nancy’s reaction to Alex’s innocent remark seems over the top.
Perhaps it was Alex’s leaning over and whispering which was inappropriate: Maybe he was trying to sneak a peek down the neck of Nancy’s 1950’s Peter Pan-collared blouse to get a glimpse of her 1950’s cast-iron-style bra.
(More on Nancy’s magnetically-attractive cleavage later.)
Bess gave a sigh of admiration. ** hunger **
Poor Bess. Forever being described in the books as “pleasantly plump”, Steamy Stacy edits mercilessly to drastically increase Bess’s caloric intake.
I cruelly snickered each time, even though feeling guilty. It’s not like Bess can help overeating. It’s author Carolyn Keene’s fault.
“For once in my life, I’ve lost my appetite.”
“is being made”, screams Stacy, honking out great unladylike snorts of laughter.
“Visitors are welcome to walk in and look around,” Donna Mae announced as she led the way into one of the gardens.
“Oh, how artistic **yummy!** Bess exclaimed. **eating a bunch of tulips.**
While Stacy is confident of the keen teen sparkle added by her own asides, she typically slams characters’ quips by editorializing about them sarcastically with “**Ha Ha!** or **What a card!**
When Nancy’s friend George dons a fairy costume and remarks: “If you girls think these wings will hold me up, I believe I’ll fly away and escape this rehearsal!”, Stacy pauses long enough to hoot a scornful ** Wittster! **
It is unfortunate that Stacy’s own witt didn’t extend to better spelling.
In some of my favorite moments, Stacy adds her own creative plot twists:
** Unknown to anyone, Nancy herself had taken the money. Ned notices Nancy has more cleavage. He thinks it’s Victoria’s Secret. It’s really 20’s, 50’s, 100’s, etc. **
But my heart took its happiest hops at entries of this sort:
Uncle Rufus smiled. “This here ka-noo has taken me an’ my nieces and nephews miles an’ miles,” he said proudly. ** My massah, he loves it! **
Taken together with similar asides, such as how the characters “Mammy and Pappy” were, in Stacy’s description, **slaves**, it is clear that the Nancy Drew approach to blacks was disturbing to our teen reader.
Steamy Stacy caught every example of inappropriate black racial stereotyping. Nice to see that.
My would-be feminist heart swelled even more when these margin notes showed up:
“Talk about women changing their minds!” **sexist**
“This is Mrs. Holman, my right-hand man.”**sexist**.
Way to go, Stacy!
But I suffered total grammatically-induced infarction, and am electing Steamy Stacy to feminist sainthood, for the following two gems. Bless her sweet liberated heart!:
1) “I don’t blame Colonel Haver for wanting to restore the River Princess. She’s ** It’s ** the most romantic thing I’ve seen…”
2) “The married ** wo/men stayed on the steam towboat…”
As someone who herself uses s/he instead of “he or she”, when I saw that “wo/men”…Well, Stacy, you had my heart, girl.
Even though you graffiti’d books, and ruined them for life, I wish I’d known you back when you created Naughty Nancy—I bet you were one heck of a teenager back then.
I hope you grew into one heck of a grown-up, and had lots of little steamy hellions just like you.