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"Hard is not hopeless." - General David Petraeus

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Family Closeness Hardy Boys Style

Well my life as a writer is still on hold due to burnout, but this post is still about writing - successful writing.

A few posts ago I was talking about that wonderful institution of books called The Hardy Boys under pen name Franklin W. Dixon. I got started re-reading them at the end of October and set myself a goal of re-reading the original 58 books by the end of November.

Well alas, I failed the goal. I just finished #58 today, but since the library didn't have #39, Mystery of the Chinese Junk, I had to order it from AbeBooks and I'm still waiting for it to come in. BTW, if you ever need to find any books, I highly recommend Abe. Their website is:

I've always had a positive experience using their site and it puts millions of booksellers at your fingertips.

So while I'm waiting for #39 to come in, I've had a chance to sit back and reflect on the reading blitz I've just been on. We live in a fast paced world. We live in an over-medicated world. We live in a world where so many people have lost perspective of what's important. And I don't think it would be a bad idea for people to read The Hardy Boys as a sort of remedy for that.

Media, film, and TV makes it a 24/7 goal to pump us full of gloom and doom. The economy, war, crime, etc. As I've mentioned previously, the last few films I've gone to see at the movies were two hour reels of hopelessness. And then we wonder why society is so messed up. Go figure.

But today I want to focus on just one of the things that makes The Hardy Boys a timeless read full of hope. The bond between father and child. It has been on my mind and heart lately because of the prevalence in the news of stories of children killing parents and parents killing children. It's horrible. Add to that the high percentage of kids who live in broken homes, the high percentage of kids who don't even have a father in the picture.

It's also been on my mind because, unlike the sad stories above, I just happen to have the world's greatest dad. And I wish the kids from those broken homes, the kids who never knew both their parents, that they could have a dad like mine. Or Fenton Hardy.

Even if you pick up only one Hardy Boys book to read - one thing will come through to you loud and clear - the Hardy Boys have great respect and love for their father - and Fenton Hardy loves his sons, respects them. The boys idolize him and yearn to be like him, and in fact, the obvious premise of the books is that they are indeed following in his footsteps as famous crime-fighting sleuths.

There is just something so special, so cool, about reading these books. Often, Fenton is gone for several days (sometimes weeks) at a time, and the heartfelt joy as the boys cry out "Dad!" in excitement when he comes home or reveals himself in disguise just leaps off the page.

Sure, the books are simplistically written, but how complicated does a close knit family and a father/child bond have to be?

You want a dose of hope? Turn off the gloomy tv news for a while. Shut off the gruesome movies and tv that leave a black cloud hanging over your head. Go the library and grab one of those bright blue spined books off the shelf and delve into 20 chapters of hope. It's a fast read. It's an easy read. And it will lift your spirits before you know it.

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