Add to Technorati Favorites

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Home Evening

I have warped my children. I know--stating the obvious...

About five years ago I discovered a book, Nancy Drew's Guide to Life. It caught my eye because when I was a pre-teen, my mother decided we should own the complete series of Nancy Drew mysteries. She had never read them herself and I think she had always wanted to, and she had six young ladies growing up in her house whom she thought would enjoy the books. They were fairly expensive for our family budget, and the books came and sat on the shelf. I was the only one who read them, and not because I was interested, but because I found it impossible not to devour anything in print.

My father decided he needed to read the books to find out why my mom was so excited about buying something she knew nothing about. So he read them--all 56 mysteries. Soon every situation in our home was being titled in the Nancy Drew genre. My father couldn't find his belt. He began exclaiming, "It's a mystery! I shall call it The Missing Belt Conundrum!" There were eggs for breakfast. He found a shell in his. It became The Culinary Clue Mystery. We cycled through The Mysterious Missing Cows, The Case of the Crying Baby, The Clue in the Toybox. In time we simply expected that every instance of our lives could be described with a Nancy Drew style title, and we weren't at all surprised when someone forgot to flush after using the bathroom and we heard my dad shouting, "Look! It's The Mystery of the Snakes in the Toilet!!"

Needless to say, it was a memorable summer. So years later, when I came across Nancy Drew's Guide to Life, I had to have it. It's a spoof on the made-to-order writing formulas utilized by the Stratmeyer Syndicate under the pen name, Carolyn Keene. Examples of their wisdom:
1. "When pinned down by a large canine, instruct friends, family, even random passersby to direct a hose on the beast." --The Mysterious Mannequin
2. "Loophole in moral code: It's okay to steal a car if it belongs to your kidnappers." --The Whispering Statue
3. "After receiving an electrical shock to the system, find as many men as possible to vigorously massage you." --Mystery of the Glowing Eye
4. "Don't force your date to go to a ballet or another activity that may not be to his liking if he was knocked unconscious earlier in the day." --The Double Jinx Mystery
5. "When trying to investigate a property that's off limits, consider putting your flying lessons to good use and fly over the area." --The Clue in the Crumbling Wall

Of course, those are only a few of the nuggets of wisdom available in the book. I loved it so much that I posted a quote from the book each day in seminary (yeah, I'm a spiritual giant when I teach), just because these were too wonderful to keep to myself. My class loved it (some of the boys are now proud owners of their own copies of the Guide to Life) and to our delight, we heard that a new Nancy Drew movie was in the making. We made plans to go see it as a class, but alas, it was not released until after the school year was over.

So Monday night, Tabitha and I rented Nancy Drew from Blockbuster. And for Family Home Evening, the Stevens family (sans Darrin) watched it from beginning to end. And it was a stupid movie. And we loved it--see--I told you I've warped my children. We would have loved it if it had been more incredibly stupid than it actually was.

I'm thinking it's time for a seminary reunion for the purpose of watching a movie with periodic intermissions in which to quote portions of Nancy Drew's Guide to Life. Like this one: "If a bleeding, screaming man runs from shore and starts swimming frantically toward your boat, you should probably help him out. He might be escaping from cruel employers." Or this one: "Don't let your troubles get in the way of enjoying a leisurely and delightful lunch." Or maybe this one: "If a guy keeps driving you around on his motorcycle so you can run pointless errands, he probably likes you."

I love Nancy (Shhh...don't tell Darrin...).


  1. I too, much to my chagrin, found the movie to be quite enjoyable. In fact, I saw it with my parents when it came out.

    Mom knew who the bad guy was long before the rest of us, but she cheated—she said that since the actor portraying him was such and such, he had to be the bad guy.

  2. See--just one more reason why I love you!