Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

The Princess Diaries #1
Published July 21, 2001 by Turtleback Books
Paperback, 283 pages
Borrowed from library

Mia Thermopolis is just a regular fourteen year old girl living in New York City. Her life isn't anything special until her dad re-enters the scene and breaks the news that he is actually the prince of Genovia, making her the princess of Genovia. And so now Mia has to learn how to be a princess even though it is the LAST thing she wants to do.

This was one of the books where I saw the movie before I read the book. I mean, honestly I didn't even know The Princess Diaries was a book first until a few years ago. But because I loved the movie so much (Julie Andrews, come on people!) I thought I would give the book a try. And I'm sad to say this because I wanted to like this book so bad for the sake of the movie but honestly, it was a let down. One of the few cases where I think the movie was actually better than the book.

The biggest problem I had with this book was that it seemed really juvenile for a young adult book. I felt like a lot of the dialogue sounded like it belonged in a middle grade book, not that there's anything wrong with that but I think if I had known that that was what it would have been like, I may have thought twice about my decision to read it. 

And seeing as Mia is the same age as I am now, I think I'm allowed some leeway to talk about fourteen year olds. Because we are definitely much more mature than is depicted in this book. Like sure we whine and complain but we don't sound outright stupid like Mia does most of the time. Mia comes off as a really insensitive person who cares only for herself. She whines and whines and whines about everything which left me totally unable to relate to her and wanting to pull my hair out. I mean, yeah I whine and complain a lot but I also think at my age, I'm able to try and look at the bright side of things and deal with a situation in a better way than just simply walking away from it. And being with fourteen year olds all the time, I think a lot of my peers are able to do that too. So...what's up with Mia??

This was also one of the reasons why the whole diary setup didn't work for me. Because when you have a book written in diary form, you REALLY need a good protagonist. You're closed off from basically everyone else, it's just the reader and the main character's thoughts and if the main character is annoying and unlikeable, then it's really hard to make the diary format work. And I did NOT like Mia at all, so reading page after page of her annoying narration felt too much for me.

But apart from Mia, I think every other character had me pulling out my hair as well. With the exception of Michael, brother of Mia's best friend Lilly and Tina, who Mia befriends. These were the only two characters who I really, genuinely liked because they were both just SO NICE. And maybe they were a bit one-dimensional but after sitting through characters who were so mean and petty, just plain old NICE was a breath of fresh air for me.

I picked this book up because I really enjoyed the movie and unfortunately, this book let me down. The majority of the characters really grated on my nerves, especially Mia who I couldn't stand at all. The diary format of this novel didn't quite work for me either and apart from the characters who I very strongly disliked, everything else was kind of mediocre and average. All in all, I think I definitely preferred the movie over the book.

fans of the Confessions of Georgia Nicholson books as well as books about becoming a princess.

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