Home LibraryBook Review 2024 READING CHALLENGE: Carolyn Keene’s The Quest of the Missing Map

2024 READING CHALLENGE: Carolyn Keene’s The Quest of the Missing Map

by A Bee In My Bonnet
1 minutes read

This year I’m participating in several reading challenges and this is an entry for those challenges. You can find more posts under these tags:

Goodreads 2024 Reading Challenge - Finished 6/20

Book Review

The Quest of the Missing Map

The Quest of the Missing Map
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 178
Publisher:
Published: January 1, 1942
Prompted by the concerns of a young child, Nancy investigates a small studio on the Chatham estate. She discovers there is a connection between the mysterious occurrences at Ship Cottage and her search for a lost island. With half of a map as her only clue, Nancy sets out to find the man with the rest of the map to pinpoint the location of buried treasure. Constantly beset by danger and intrigue, Nancy courageously outwits her clever enemies who are also searching for both pieces of the map and the long-lost cache.

Talk about a blast from the past! Nancy Drew books were my jam back in grade school. It all started when my sister’s classmate, a big reader, introduced her to this series and my sister brought home “The Secret of the Old Clock.” I was instantly hooked.

Thinking back, I realize why falling in love with Nancy Drew was easy-peasy. It mixed that old-time charm with mystery and easy-to-read dialogues. Plus, those illustrations sprinkled between chapters were a lifesaver for a newbie reader like me, just trying to navigate through chapter books.

As an adult now, Nancy Drew stories still hold a special place in my heart. Sure, the repetitive phrases “titian-haired” (there was no Google back then, so I had to look it up in the dictionary) and “amateur sleuth” might get on your nerves, and the author seemed determined to paint Nancy as this perfect, overpowered character. But hey, I guess it serves as a nice escape from the harsh realities of life, a retreat to a time when things were a whole lot simpler.

The book in the eyes of an adult

The plot of the story is classic Nancy Drew. It starts off with someone seeking advice about whether to take a job as a music tutor, then we uncover mysterious and potentially dangerous events linked to the Chatham estate. It turns out the young lady seeking help is somehow tied to this mystery. There are treasures waiting to be discovered, but only if we can find the other half of a map. Then, we’re treated to a dance where Nancy, dressed in a lovely new dress, wins the special prize (no surprises there), but not without the complication of an attempted robbery and kidnapping. It’s the run of the mill mystery plot that’s been used with slight modifications across the series.

The characters themselves feel a bit flat. There are no moments of introspection, and they pretty much stick to doing things well within the expected boundaries of their character. We see Nancy being the super sleuth, effortlessly connecting the dots and handling whatever comes her way. Ned is the charming hero, while George is headstrong and brave, perfectly fitting her “slim and tomboyish” persona. And then there’s Bess, described as timid, “blond and slightly plump.” The villains were, of course, villainous and greedy. Right.

The book in the eyes of a child

But let’s be fair here. This series isn’t aimed at some jaded adult who’s seen it all; it’s meant for kids and teens. So let’s put ourselves back in those shoes. Would I have liked this book when I was younger? Absolutely. It had all the classic elements of childhood adventure—buried treasure, mysterious houses, and long-lost relatives. I would’ve been thrilled to imagine myself as Nancy, embarking on these adventures with my friends and meeting new people along the way.

Barring time travel, this book offers a peek into American life back when my grandma was a kid. Even though it was published smack dab in the middle of World War II, there’s not a single mention of it or any hint of trouble in the book. And that’s part of the magic of Nancy Drew—it’s like a trip down memory lane, pure nostalgia at its finest.

3.4Overall Score

The Quest of the Missing Map

Prompted by the concerns of a young child, Nancy investigates a small studio on the Chatham estate. She discovers there is a connection between the mysterious occurrences at Ship Cottage and her ...

  • Plot
    3.0
  • Characters
    3.0
  • Setting/Atmosphere
    3.5
  • Writing Style
    4.0
  • Enjoyment Factor
    3.5

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