The Princess Diaries (The Princess Diaries #1) by Meg Cabot
Finally, I have read The Princess Diaries. I saw the movies years ago when they came out, and was always able to relate to Mia, the plain, nerdy girl with frizzy hair who doesn’t want to be a Princess when she finds out she is one. I’m not sure why I never read the book until now, but what a delight it was.
Mia is the typical teenage girl; she’s not popular, hasn’t had a date, and sucks at Algebra. Her parents aren’t together, and never were, but when her dad finds out he can’t have any more children, life changes drastically for Mia. She is now the Princess of Genovia, and there isn’t anything she can do to change it.
The supporting characters are fun, though I prefer movie-Lily to book-Lily, as book-Lily is too harsh of a friend. Tina and Lars are other characters that were condensed in the movie but are a delight to read on the page, as is Mia’s father. Some of the characters are very stereotypical or their personality too one-sided, but it’s also a teen contemporary novel, so some of that is to be expected.
I listened to the audiobook, which was read by Mia herself, Anne Hathaway, which added another dimension to the story, and as I was familiar with the movie first, it helped me bridge the gap a bit better. It was fun listening to Hathaway read the characters of her father and Grand-mere with a French accent as well, which is more authentic than the British portrayal of those in Genovia in the movie (though I do absolutely adore Julie Andrews).
At times the narration got repetitive and whiny, and I wanted to shake Mia until she got over herself, but I also can remember being very similar to her when I was a teenager, which is part of the book’s charm.
The plot is thin, but this is more about the characters, about Mia and her self discovery and self acceptance. It’s written in a series of diary entries (hence the title), which is always a fun formula, and it even inspired me to pick up my own long-forgotten journal.
I can’t wait to read the rest of Mia’s journey.