Review: The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

The Princess Diaries (The Princess Diaries, #1)

Title: The Princess Diaries
Author: Meg Cabot
Publisher: Turtleback
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Paperback, 228 Pages
Published 2000

Summary: She's just a New York City girl living with her artist mom… NEWS FLASH: Dad is prince of Genovia. (So that's why a limo meets her at the airport!) DOWNER: Dad can't have any more kids. (So there's no heir to the throne.) SHOCK OF THE CENTURY: Like it or not, Mia Thermopolis is prime princess material. THE WORST PART: Mia must take princess lessons from her dreaded grandmère, the dowager princess of Genovia, who thinks Mia has a thing or two to learn before she steps up to the throne. Well, her father can lecture her until he's royal–blue in the face about her princessly duty—no way is she moving to Genovia and leaving Manhattan behind. But what's a girl to do when her name is PRINCESS AMELIA MIGNONETTE GRIMALDI THERMOPOLIS RENALDO?

Okay, you guys. This review has been a long time coming. I watched The Princess Diaries tons of times as a kid, so I knew the story, but recently, it dawned on me that I never actually read the books. And there were plenty of them, and I was feeling a bit nostalgic, so I headed over to the bookstore with my friends (a cute independent one, mind you, which some of you may know as The Strand), and I bought a worn, faded copy of the first book in the series, and I gave it a go.

Let me just say, I'm so glad that I did.

For starters, the fact that the book is so short (less than 230 pages), made it an easy read, which is perfect for somebody who is trying to juggle college classes and homework and being an adult with reading time, which is something that I have very little of lately. I tore through it in a little over a day, and every time I picked up the book, I had trouble putting it down. Since it's written in diary format, some entries are really short, and some were a bit lengthier, which means that I constantly sucked myself into the trap as follows:

ME: Okay, I have stuff to do. I'll only read one more entry.
ME: Okay, that entry was like a paragraph long. I'll read until the next long entry.
ME: Okay, but that long entry looks really interesting. I'll just read that one, and then I'll go do my work.
ME: Oh but look, there's a handful of short entries here. I'll just read until the next long entry.

And that was the cycle that got me to shirk all of my important tasks of the day, and to sit down and read this book instead. 

The entire concept of the story was interesting -- being awkward and shy and totally unpopular, and then finding out that you're the princess of a very wealthy country out of the blue. The book was definitely a lot more detailed than the story, and there are a lot of things about Mia's grandmother and father that the story doesn't cover, so it's interesting to see those aspects. I loved Mia as a character, because she was so quirky and funny and witty that it kept the story entertaining.

Also, just a side note here, I definitely wouldn't know what to do if I found out that my mom was sleeping with my math teacher right around the same time that my father tells me that I'm a princess. I'd probably explode, to be entirely honest. That'd be too much for me to handle at one time.

What I admired most about Mia was the way that she stuck to her roots. Even though she was going through so many changes and being forced to live a life she wasn't all that crazy about, she stuck to what she believed in, such as her vegetarianism and her concern for the environment, even when it wasn't necessarily what others wanted to do. 

The only thing I wasn't crazy about in this book was that sometimes Mia sounded a bit juvenile. I get it -- I'm in college now, so maybe I just feel that way because reading a story from the perspective of a freshman in high school isn't very relatable anymore, which is scary and downright weird -- so that probably explains my aversion to her younger tendencies. 

All in all, I'm really glad that I made the decision to start reading The Princess Diaries. Since the books are so easy to get through, I think that I may have found the reading material to get me through my spring semester of college. The stories are engaging enough to enjoy but short enough that they won't be difficult to tackle among all of the other school-related things I need to do. Hats off to Meg Cabot for giving me a touch of my childhood back, and I can't wait to continue delving back into my past as I continue this series.

1 comment

  1. Aw, you're growing up! Sucks don't it? (Good natured ribbing of course.)

    I LOVED Ariel as a kid and I will never forget the first time I watched it with my daughter--so excited--and realized I agreed with King Triton i.e. "You are too young!!"


    I still haven't read this book series, just the movies, but now maybe I should just wait til my daughter can read it at this point....


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