Peggy Parker: Girl Inventor, by Ruby Lorraine Radford
Four out of five stars
When I spotted this book at a used book store, the title intrigued me and that interest rose dramatically when I discovered that it was published in 1946. I grew up devouring the books in the Tom Swift series, but had never before seen a book this old that featured a girl inventor. It was at that point that I decided to read and evaluate it.
While the story is good for the times, Peggy is indeed a talented girl with tools and does invent some new things, in general they are ill-defined “gadgets.” Furthermore, when Peggy and the rest of her family take up residence on the island of their recently deceased relative that willed it to them, she meets a man. He is a lawyer that generally supports Peggy in her mechanical work but makes comments that are disparaging about her penchant for working with tools and more in line with the standard, “stick to women’s work” principle.
Therefore, the story becomes more a second rate romance rather than a story about a female that is talented in the areas of developing and testing new mechanical devices. However, given that it was published in 1946 when such a topic was almost non-existent, I ranked it higher than I would a similar book published much later. Giving the book a positive evaluation also requires that you accept the rather disparaging way in which blacks are characterized.