Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Hello Trixie Belden, Old Friend!

I revisited an old friend this month, reading Trixie Belden and the Mystery Off Glen Road with the Children's Classics Mystery Challenge at 5 Minutes for Books.

Oh, I'm so glad that I did! What a fun trip down memory lane. I immediately remembered things like Honey's "adopted brother Jim" (and yes, that's how the refer to him, but in their defense, he wasn't adopted until he was a teen, recently in the book's timeframe), and the "Wheeler Estate" which borders "Crabapple Farm," and their little club, the Bob Whites, whose treasury was funded only by money they earned themselves, even though Honey's dad was "very rich" (again, that's the way that they refer to him).

One thing that surprised me was that Honey and Trixie are only 13. They seem much older in my memory, but maybe because I was 10 when I was reading them, and even then 13 seems so old and wise. But the more I read, the more I realized that they were quite "Free Range," taking on responsibilities that only older teens take on now (and much more responsible than my 80's self as well). Honey sews curtains for their house, they both roam around on horses on the Wheeler's estate (because remember, they are very rich), and in this book I even learned that Trixie is an expert butcher, taking over the responsibility of getting the chickens ready to be cooked!

In this particular installment of the series, the Beldens and the Wheelers (Honey, and her "adopted brother Jim") are taking over the game warden's responsibilities, since he is gone, and they need money to repair the roof of their clubhouse. Altruistic Brian takes the $50 he was saving to buy an old jalopy from Mr. Lytell, the shopkeeper, and Mr. Lytell is going to send the car to auction. Gleeps! He'll never be able to get a deal as good as that one. Fortunately, his sweet sister Trixie has a diamond ring that Jim gave her (he's super-rich too, but never knew it until recently) after she solved another mystery. She puts it on deposit until they can turn over their game-keeping funds so that Brian can get the car after all. In the midst of all of this, there's a caper involving a fake romance between Trixie and Honey's cousin Ben (also rich -- and spoiled), and of course solving the mystery of the poacher!!


Carrie had mentioned that she liked a certain version of Nancy Drew books, and I do admit that if I saw that same buff colored Trixie Belden with the oval-shaped picture on the cover somewhere, that I'd buy it for old time's sake, but the reason that I opted to read Trixie Belden and the Mystery Off Glen Road, the 5th in the series, is because I have a 1965 version that my grandmother gave it to me. It was supposedly my mother's, but in 1965 I would have thought that she was too old to read Trixie Belden, but who knows.

When I was googling trying to find a cover image of the book, I found a fun site -- Amy Action. She reviews Classic children's mystery series, and in her post about this particular book, she posts all the book covers. My beloved beige book is the second, and the classic 1965 book I read is the third one. Fun!

My 11-year-old daughter had tried to read some Trixie Belden a few years ago, since 5th grade was the year that I remember reading and re-reading and buying and swapping Trixie Belden books with my friends, and she declared them "boring." How dare she! She said that she might try again. She was in 4th grade when she tried the first time, so she thinks she might like them more now that she's "older."


I had committed to read this book, and only this book, for the challenge, but it goes all the way through June. Jump in anytime! In fact, I found a Hardy Boys mystery that I had bought on sale a while ago, so I think that might try to read it in May. I've never read the Hardy Boys. Maybe I'll like them a little better than Nancy Drew, because as I confessed earlier, I have never read an entire Nancy Drew mystery. As a child they never appealed to me, and I tried to read one aloud with Amanda when she was reading them, but I couldn't do it. . . .At least with the Hardy Boys I can picture Shaun Cassidy and Parker Stevenson!


planetnomad said...

As a kid, I liked the Hardy boys better, but that might have been because I was reading my brother's old ones. I don't remember reading ND till later. Now, I prefer her, with her blue roadster and pearls.
Also, have you seen the graphic novels of the two series? They're rather fun, although I do get tired of every single girl looking like wonder woman.

unfinishedwork said...

Haha, this brought back memories! As I kid, I not only read Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy mysteries, my sister and I lived them. We were always playing pretend, making my mom be Trixie's mom or something, and setting up our clubhouse. Mom however did not appreciate our acting out the Hardy Boy books which (okay we were younger, like 7 & 9) consisted of running around shirtless! I knew they were formulaic but something in me didn't mind, knowing they would respond, true to their character!

Carrie said...

I have the oval shaped books for the most part. I got your e-mail the other day about you reading this TB title and so I pulled the first book in the series (in prep for next month!) I, too, was surprised by the fact that they were only 13!!! I wondered what was wrong with my memory! In my head, they are 16 and 17. So I'm curious to remember (through reading them) if they age in the series and that's why I think that. I'm not sure.

I can definitely see myself reading through the entire TB series again - way before I would even THINK of reading the entire Nancy Drew books. I like Trixie Belden better. I don't know if I would have said that before this challenge but there's just something about Trixie that is so much more real and fun!

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

LOVE Trixie. I'm reading the first one with Will now. I'd forgotten that she had a little brother. It made me laugh to read her family was boy, boy, girl, boy - just like my family is now. Somehow that makes me like her even more. :)

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

Stephanie--I LOVED 5-year-old little Bobby, because I could honestly hear his words coming out of Kyle's mouth!

Unfinished Work -- We didn't live out the books, but we did play Charlie's Angels. Same idea (and dating myself here!).

Carrie--They might well get older (and I read a lot of the later ones), but I think that they just acted old.

Michele said...

Oh how I loved Trixie Belden. I think I read every single one. I had them all too. And several(like 20) years ago, I sold them in a yard sale. I have regretted that since. I did finally manage to buy the first 5 used( in the beige covers) for my daughter to read but sadly she didn't find them as entertaining as I did.

Thanks for the memories. :-)

Tami said...

I loved Trixie Belden books. I was given the first 2 as a gift when I was a little girl. They would fun to read with my kids.

Katrina @ Callapidder Days said...

Oh, I thoroughly enjoyed this review! Though I read more Nancy Drew than Trixie Belden, I *did* read a number of TB books as a kid. In fact, reading your review brought back a clear memory of reading a TB book at my best friends house -- we often spent play-dates or over-nighters reading books. The Bob Whites, the Wheeler's estate...it's all coming back to me.

And I loved your story of the actual, physical book that you read...that it was given to you by your grandmother. Very cool when books not only hold a dearly-loved story, but have also come from a loved one.