Poke the Publisher: The Girl Sleuth

One of the most fascinating deconstruction books I've ever read was something I picked up purely by accident. I had heard through the literary grapevine in college that author Bobbie Ann Mason was well worth checking out, and I purchased "The Girl Sleuth" without any research whatsoever, assuming it was a fictional novel. Instead, I received an incredibly insightful deconstruction into the series books of my childhood -- the Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, and many more I hadn't even heard of, like Cherry Ames -- that examined the books from a feminist perspective and attempted to really drill down to the core of these series to see the underlying values and societal assumptions that served as a foundation for these books.

Not everything I read in "The Girl Sleuth", of course, pleased me: I hadn't realized that the original Bobbsey twins were written with a very strong racist bias, nor had I really parsed as a young girl the societal divide in the Nancy Drew series, where poor-and-slovenly was shorthand for 'evil' whereas poor-and-tidy was the obvious indication of a good soul cast on hard times. But everything I read in Mason's deconstruction fascinated me as she waxed nostalgic for her childhood favorites while still carefully and intelligently shining a light on the fascinating flaws inherent to each. More than any other deconstruction, I think Mason's showed me that it was possible to love a series while still hating the flaws, as it were.

Mason's book is still in circulation -- you can buy a 'new' copy from 1995 for almost $17 US dollars today -- but I was shocked to realize that it hasn't yet been migrated into eBook form. (This was especially distressing since I've quoted a huge block of her book in an upcoming deconstruction post!) I am therefore both recommending this exceedingly good book to you fair readers as well as urging you to poke the publisher (via Amazon, since it seems B&N has dropped the Poke the Publisher feature -- a decision that I have carefully determined to take personally).

Amazon link here.

Remember: Readers who post in the comments that they've poked the publisher via any or all of these links will be mentioned in a subsequent "Poke the Publisher" entry, which is far more exciting than having to trek through a snowy winter wonderland in a borrowed (and un-politically correct) fur coat.

Also remember: By poking the publisher, you are not indicating that YOU are waiting to buy this book in e-Book format, but rather that your dear friend Ana is waiting to buy this book in e-Book format to review, dissect, deconstruct, and otherwise desecrate for your reading pleasure. And buy it I shall, just as soon as it comes available in the U.S. of A., presuming, of course, that I haven't disappeared permanently into Narnia before then.

Credit for last week's Poke the Publisher feature must go to Matt Smyczynski, Brin Bellway, Amaryllis, Cupcakedoll, Charleen Merced, Kristy Griffin, Gela, Dav, and sarah. Each one of these delightful people can cook gourmet meals in only ten minutes with their hands tied behind their backs and using only a slightly bent spatula and the absolute power of their minds.


keri said...

Poked! I've been wanting to get around to reading that for ages.

I had the original version Bobbsey Twins books 1-3 as a kid and was startled when I saw they were being republished - I couldn't believe people would read them to their kids in the late '90s! That's when I learned that the books had been rewritten in the '50s and made into mysteries like Nancy Drew, plus most of the racist and sexist nonsense was removed. (I kind of loved the originals because of the time machine aspect.)

Cupcakedoll said...

Poked.  Also ordered, because it sounded fascinating and was only a penny, plus the shipping.  (though as a thrift store employee paying four dollars for a book is starting to look steep.  I love my job, but it's ruining the fun of shopping!)

Gelliebean said...

Poking accomplished!  This is one I would love to read - I had a large collection of Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden books when I was younger, and plowed through the entire Bobbsey Twins series at the library when I was probably 8 or so.  And everyone knows I love me a good deconstruction....  :-D

Brin Bellway said...

Credit for last week's Poke the Publisher feature must go to [...] Brin Bellway

Well, sort of. I'm more of an honourary mention; with the B&N loss, I have now completely lost access to poking buttons, and was/will be unable to participate.

Good luck with the poking!

Pamela Merritt said...

I have so poked. And it's for me too; sounds fascinating!

Morten Greis Petersen said...

Hi :)

Ah, thank you for elaborating the details on pricing. I was not aware (and now I am annoyed at the publishers instead).

Also thanks for the link. The forums seem very interesting and useful.

Morten Greis Petersen said...

Want to poke

Morten Greis Petersen said...

Argh, my reply got mixed up. Let's try again,

I want to poke the publisher, but the function does not seem to be available from Europe (or Scandinavia).

BTW I have a Kindle, and though I enjoy it much, I am rather annoyed by Amazon's policies: 
1) Many books costs the same or even more as an e-book (at least history books, novels may be different) than the printed version, which results in me buying the book from one of their competitors instead (thus avoiding postage making the books cheaper than Amazons). So fewer ebooks for me, and loss of sale for Amazon.
2) No bundles - I like having a physical copy of a book, and that even if I have a digital copy. Some minor publishers offers for instance a bundle, where you buy both the pdf and the printed copy for a reduced price. This enables me to read the book instantly while waiting for the printed copy, but more importantly it allows me to easier share my books with friends. Anything I buy right now on my Kindle, I cannot share, since hardly any of my friends use e-readers, which again favors buying printed copies.

Bit of a rant perhaps, but since I do enjoy my Kindle, it annoys me so much the more, that I cannot freely use it.
When I bought my Kindle, I also considered getting a Nook, but at that time it was not available in Europe (don't know if that has changed).

Ana Mardoll said...

@Morten Greis Petersen

Hello, fellow eReader! :D

Alas, it's usually not Amazon who sets the book pricing on eBooks -- a good many of the publishers have negotiated a deal to keep eBook prices artificially high (whereas before, Amazon was selling some eBooks at a loss just to grow their customer base). Not all the publishers do this, but enough do that it's quite annoying. :(

(I should mention, you may very much enjoy the Mobile Read forums at http://www.mobileread.com/forums . They're very fun to read and browse.)

Ana Mardoll said...

You're very welcome! It's not common knowledge and I'm actually surprised that Amazon isn't doing more to make the situation clear to their shoppers, because it's a pretty recent thing for the publishers to set a book price rather than the seller.

The publishers are also the ones setting the geo-restrictions, which are very frustrating to everyone. There's a Margaret Atwood book that I very much want but it's currently only available in eBook form in the UK. *sigh*

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