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The Quilty Reader

Lawyer, mother, avid reader. Game host extraordinaire! Partner in crime to Obsidian Black Plague! My bookish weaknesses include classics, fantasy, YA, and agreeing to read more books than is even remotely possible.

Most Influential Books - Trixie Belden

The Secret of the Mansion - Mary Stevens, Michael Koelsch, Julie Campbell

I was first introduced to Trixie Belden in the 1970's. While I was a fan of Nancy Drew - and I'm sure I'll shelve her here down the road a bit - it was for Trixie and the Bob-Whites of the Glen that I reserved my most committed and unconditional adoration.

Trixie reminded me of me. Also a tom-boy, I skied and sledded and was involved in winter sports. My family mirrored hers, with a garden-crazy stay-at-home mom and a dad who worked outside the home (mine was a doctor, not a banker, but still . . . ). But Trixie had older brothers, something I lacked, but that I longed for, and her best friend, Honey, the poor-little-rich girl had a stable full of horses.

I spent years reading Trixie. I belonged to some kind of a mail-order book club, and one of them would arrive at my house every month. They were poorly made book club editions, with hideous covers, a school library edition of some kind, not a hard-back, but not a soft-cover either.

I read them into tatters. When I left home for college, I left them in a box and at some point they were water-damaged. When I returned home for the summer after my first year of law school, my personal life had completely self-destructed. I had performed well academically, but my marriage had fallen apart. I dug these out and read them, covers falling off, pages disintegrating in my hands, smelling of mildew. I credit Trixie, in a small way, with the survival of my sense of self after the failure that was my first marriage.

When the books were re-released for a new generation of readers, I bought them, ostensibly for my daughter. She has shown no interest, and is off to college, so that ship has likely sailed. I, on the other hand, will still reread them from time to time. I put them in a stack on the end table, and can read from the top of the stack to the bottom in a matter of hours. Reuniting with Trixie and Honey and Di, and Jim Frayne, my original book boyfriend, and Brian and the irritating Mart, is like becoming myself all over again.

Sometimes I think that people are the most themselves when they are around ten years old, before peer pressure weighs them down, and they start to question what they love, to edit themselves for an audience. When I was ten, I loved Trixie Belden. When I read Trixie Belden, I am ten. Again.