I was ten years old when I first discovered Trixie Belden. I’d read a few Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books, but when I met Trixie, I fell head over heels in love with her, her sometimes-annoying little brother, and her best friend, Honey. She seemed so real and the adventures she, her friends, and brothers got into felt believable. My mom only had the first ten books, so I read them over and over again.
When I was in middle school, I ended up with a teacher who had, except for half a dozen titles, the entire series. I blew through them, reading a few books a week.
After getting married and moving out, my mom passed her books on to me. I shared them with my own children. My younger two were neutral toward my beloved Trixie, but my oldest loved the books. She got more from the library, though I don’t think she could get all of them.
Even when I should have grown out of those books as a teenager, they were there for me. When I went through rough stuff, I knew I could count on Trixie to be there, for her and Honey and Jim to solve the mystery. Even when I’d read the books dozens of times, coming back to them was like a warm hug or a comfy blanket. They were comfortable. I knew those books could solve all ills. That for a small amount of time, at least, they’d make me feel safe and okay with the world.
I have a feeling if I were to read these books today, I’d do so through more cynical eyes. Maybe the sheen would wear off, or I would find Trixie or her friends and brothers annoying or unbelievable. But for child-me, these books were exactly what I wanted. I identified with Trixie. How? I had a sometimes-annoying brother (though he wasn’t as young as Trixie’s brother, Bobby). I wished and longed for a good friend. Honey fit the bill nicely. I never had a group of friends while growing up, but when I entered Trixie’s world, I did.
I also liked Trixie because she reminded me a lot of myself. She wasn’t great at math; sometimes she was impulsive or headstrong; and she cared deeply about those she loved. She was down-to-earth, and worked hard for what she wanted. Honestly, I think that’s a lot of the reason I preferred Trixie to Nancy Drew. She wasn’t rich or super talented. Just a normal teenage girl solving mysteries with her group of friends. She was exactly what I needed.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Carol Starkley lives with her husband, three daughters, and numerous pets. She likes to read, write, bake, and dabble with the clarinet. She also infrequently blogs.