Thursday, January 5, 2012

Book Review: The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

Goodreads 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 no heir to the throne.)

Shock of the Century: Like it or not, Mia Thermopolis is prime princess material.

Mia must take princess lessons from her dreaded grandmére, 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?

my review: This is one of those rare cases where I've watched the movie before I read the book, and I have to say, I enjoyed watching the movie better. Mia Thermopolis has a unique voice that perfectly embodies the essence of a high schooler, with typical problems like finding a date to a dance, doing well in school and getting into fights with best friends. Mia was humorous, oblivious to love like most high school girls are, and naive to what being a princess really means.

Mia's grandmére is overly strict and tries to whip Mia into a princess, her father comes to New York City to help in the transition, and her mother is dating Mia's Algebra teacher. Not to mention, her crush Josh Richter doesn't notice her until she's a princess and her best friend's brother, Michael, secretly likes her.

Even though Mia's voice in the book was great, I thought the movie had a better execution of what a princess's role would be. She was more gracious with her responsibilities, you could visually see the transformation from Mia Thermopolis to Princess Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo, and there seemed to be an actual climax and resolution in the movie that the book seemed to be lacking and trying to imagine Julie Andrews as a heartless grandmother was a bit hard while reading the book. Also, the ending had an uneven flow right up to the very end and the 'Blind Guy' was a loose string that did not need to be tied.

Overall, I love the concept of a typical teenager finding out she's a princess. I love the voice (I can't say it enough) but there were other things that were lacking that were filled in the movie. I understand it's the first book of a series, but I think even in a series, each book should be a stand alone as well. But, taking into consideration that the movie was so well done and because I saw it first, I'm giving The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot a 5/5.

those gaudy gold seat covers

the flickering flame from the cream-colored candle

dwindled in its confidence, exuding the sweet smell

of a ripened peach freshly plucked from fertile trees

before overcast clouds cast shadow upon the backyard,

thick raindrops pelted down like sports cars racing on

the highway, blurring snowcapped mountains as it past.

She closed the white lace blinds, a gift from two years ago,

before sinking into plush gold seat covers she thought gaudy

but kept anyway after he insisted. They were comfortable,

actually, but she never admitted it. Wrapping herself in

shredded quilted t-shirts from old college days, like taking

comfort from her mother’s arms when she was young, she

flipped through the television, read a page from her book,

wrote a sentence in her unfinished journal before receding

further into her fortress she constructed, lightning struck

with startling brightness before thunder, like hooves of

dozens of horse-drawn chariots, crackled overhead and

electricity flickered and knocked out once more. Moist

water droplets sneaked through, looking for a midnight

cookie, before she patched the cracked window with a

burnt orange towel and ebbed the chorus flowing from

ear to ear but she wasn’t listening. The bedspread was

too appealing, so comfortable tonight, or morning,

her watch broke that day and she never fixed it. Time is

meaningless. Heartbeats are her seconds. She snuggled

with her gold seat cover before counting how many

heartbeats will pass before their hearts can beat

together again.

-Madeline Wahl

A Book as A Piece of Art

Even though I feel like a little part of me dies inside every time I see a book mutilated like this, I secretly do appreciate the fact that maybe, as a book's dying wish, it would've liked to have been viewed as a piece of art rather than as a piece of literature. And then I think, aren't written books a piece of art in it of itself?


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