Day 21, 22
This reminded me of a book that I read back in the seventh grade. It was also by Meg Cabot. It also reminded me of the reason why that was the first and only such book that I read- because the urge to throw the book (or in this case my Samsung Galaxy tab) against the wall while halfway through can be almost overpowering.
The beginning is usually fine. The author sets off with a promising premise. An awkward teenager (in this case, the height of 5’ 9” and big feet at 14 actually adds a little credibility) finds out that her father is a prince of some tiny, fictional country and she, wait for it, is the reigning princess!
The end is also fine by me as it involves the making up of all involved parties and a happy conclusion, (which basically means that every girl has found her way to a Prince Charming), to everything.
The middle now is where the problem lies.
What should I start with?
The mysterious reluctance of Mia to being a princess? I mean, come on! Even in my most unromantic frame of mind, being a princess doesn’t hurt. Especially, if it meant, like it is in our protagonist’s case, that I would get a super, overnight-look-changing haircut and top of the line clothes and an actual lesson in table etiquette. (It is rather stressful to wait for somebody to use the correct knife/fork so you can follow them, when all you want to do is tuck in and wipe the plate clean!)
The author never really explains why Mia is so angst-y at the idea of being a princess. At least not in the first book. I found out that there are a jaw-dropping nine more.
Secondly, there is the Grandmere, who, in spite of being an apparently formidable woman, seems only interested in make-overs for her princess-to-be grand-daughter, than any actual lessons about the actual kingdom that she is to rule. All Mia knows about her reign-dom is that it’s called Genovia and tourism is the foremost and apparently, the only source of income and oh! No taxes!
I didn’t realize that as long as the ruler looked good, a kingdom could rule itself. Well, lesson learnt.
Then, there is the part that we will hold our breath for. The Boy! (s)! Of course, there are two of them- one, the douchebag popular jock that our heroine is in “love” with (duh!) and the true “love” friend who has been around all this time and is just waiting to be noticed (double duh!). Now, do I even need to read the rest of the book to find out what the MAJOR plotline in the book will lead to? At a cultural diversity DANCE? (why is it always a dance? Why can’t it be at an exam or a debate or just in the classroom?!)
However, the only reason I didn’t fling my tab at the wall, in spite of the overwhelming urge to, is because there were, to be perfectly honest, a few redeeming qualities to the book.
The voice of a 14 year old girl just entering high school and the problem years is well-captured. Her diary entries give the book a personality that it otherwise might have lacked. Overall, the protagonist, Mia, is likable, even if she is a push-over. The best-friend character was, as usual, overflowing with all the individuality that our heroine lacked. But, again, she was a character that you couldn’t help but root for. Also, she didn’t go overboard with the good guy. She kept him just on the fringe, popping up for Mia’s convenience whenever she needed it, but, without the hangdog feeling that most such characters inject into the role.
Best of all though, for me, was the obvious attachment between Mia and her mother and the fact that she made no excuses for it. She loved her mother and her mother loved her, adolescence and rebellious teen years notwithstanding. There were no unnecessary mother-daughter fights and “I hate you”s and that made for an especially pleasant reading.
All in all, Princess Diaries is a perfect book for all those people with a taste for make-overs and making-ups, for dressy dresses and dancing partners, for princesses and pink-ery.
But, for me, all redeeming features aside, the only reason I would read another Meg Cabot would be if someone paid me to do it. Until then, I bid a thankful adieu.