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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Why The Hardy Boys Series Is Still A Timeless Read

Sorry, this post is not about writing. It's about being a reader. I mentioned in a previous post that in a sense I've sort of regressed to my childhood. By that specifically, I mean that I have once again begun to re-read the Hardy Boys books (the blue book series).

I remember as a squirt in grade school, I started out reading Nancy Drew books. They were good. But then I discovered there were Hardy Boys books and the rest, as they say, is history! I was always enamored of Frank Hardy in particular - his intelligence, his leader of the pack mentality, his quick figuring (and when Parker Stevenson was chosen to play Frank in the 70's TV version of the boys, I've never been able to get Parker's image out of my head when reading Frank in the stories). And he was balanced out very well by his year-younger brother, who was sharp too but occasionally a little quick to jump the gun.

I began re-reading them a couple weeks ago. Being the anal person I am, I'm trying to read them in order but that isn't always easy (and drat if The Short Wave Mystery isn't STILL checked out at the library - so if you're the kid in Arizona who has that book checked out currently - read it faster! I wanna read it too!). 8-)

And you know what? I enjoy these books just as much as I did when I was a kid. First of all, they're a short read. You can whiz through a Hardy blue book in 2 hours. Second, I can pick up one of these books and not have to worry about violence, sexual situations, or language. Being raised with manners, I am quite put off by books, film and television that almost without fail goes overboard in all these areas. I went to see a movie at the theater recently and every single movie previewed was filled with violence. Why on earth would I want to subject myself to that? No wonder I prefer the retro-life!

Third, the Hardy Boys books are filled with adventure. My goodness, these 18 and 17 year old boys have seen so many adventures all over the United States and beyond. They fly, know how to ride a horse, fix engines, power a speedboat, dive, and countless other activities!

Fourth - these books are a respite from the real world. The Hardy Boys never seem to find money an object in their sleuthing adventures. They fly here and there, there never seems to be any problems in fixing dented cars and punctured boats, and when they're injured they just pick themselves up, dust themselves off and press on! (Or to use my favorite phrase, they "suck it up and deal with it.")

And fifth, it's nice to read about a nice stable family for a change. So many times in these modern days we tend to dwell on the dysfunctional - to the exclusion of paying attention to nice normal families. I get tired of reading about the abusive father in stories, the alcoholic mother and so on. The Hardy Boys series is proof you can write about a normal, functional family and STILL have plenty of adventures and drama!

Plus, these boys have been raised with MANNERS! Imagine that!

And, I confess, there is one humorous twist to reading these books as a (cough cough) 40-something. Having slowed down a step healthwise and no longer being the spry energetic young'un I once was, it's funny to read these books now - these boys literally jump out of bed and hit the ground running from dawn to dark of night on their sleuthing adventures. As a kid I ate that up. I still do, but often I find myself thinking, "gee whiz, they wore me out after just their MORNING'S adventures! I'd need a nap!" 8-)

I'm having a grand time reading these books. I've been checking them out from the library, but I have a small handful of my own purchased copies in a box somewhere. I think I'd like to buy the whole set for myself.

And I have a great-niece who is only 5 now, but I can't wait till she's old enough to read this age-level of books because I plan on decking her out in the collection too.

The Hardy Boys as I understand it got started in 1927 - WOW! And in my opinion, this is a legendary series of books that is still going strong. Kudos to the writer(s)/publishers on this great series of books.

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