Book Club: The Princess Diaries

The Princess Diaries Book Club is an ongoing collaboration with my friend Cilla and her blog, Paved with Books. We decided that we would reread this series, at our own pace, and always come back to our blogs and each other to discuss the story and how we feel about it now. If you are interested in joining us, please do!

Title: The Princess Diaries (The Princess Diaries #1) 38980

Author: Meg Cabot

Rating: ★★1/2

Provided Synopsis: Mia Thermopolis is pretty sure there’s nothing worse than being a five-foor-nine, flat-chested freshman, who also happens to be flunking Algebra.

Is she ever in for a surprise.

First Mom announces that she’s dating Mia’s Algebra teacher. Then Dad has to go and reveal that he is the crown prince of Genovia. And guess who still doesn’t have a date for the Cultural Diversity Dance?

Review: Disclaimer: This post will be as much of a review of the audiobook as it is on the story.

It had been years since I first read The Princess Diaries therefore there was very little I remembered about the story beyond what was depicted in the movie. I knew it was the story of a teenage girl who learns she is the heir to a European principality. I knew that I had liked the story. What I did not remember is how much the book differs from the movie, as the story is set in New York City rather than the adaptation’s San Francisco location; or that Mia’s father is alive, rather than deceased; or that Mia’s grandmother is no where near as charming as Julie Andrews.

I could deal with all of those changes, until it came to her best friend, Lily. She bothered me the most, for while she does have an opinionated voice in the movie, she is not as difficult to tolerate as she is in the book. I quickly grew tired of her and the way she treated Mia; I grew tired of her crusades and harshly worded opinions; I especially grew aggravated at the way Mia would so often quote Lily as if her word is law.

To tell the truth, if I were to have read this book instead of listening to the audiobook, there is no way I would have finished it. Mia, and her obsession with her breasts, is no longer a relatable narrative voice to my twenty-something year old self. It was the narration of Anne Hathaway that kept me engaged with all she wrote in her diary. I do plan to continue on with this series reread though, because I do appreciate the growth already exhibited by Mia in this book, and because I am interested in seeing how the series finally reaches its recently released conclusion of a royal wedding. Will is be Michael? Or will it be to someone who looks like Chris Pine?

Stay tuned…

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6 thoughts on “Book Club: The Princess Diaries

  1. Lily can be so condescending that I feel that being best friends with her is a contributing factor to Mia’s lack of confidence. I’m a fan of her friendship with Tina though; for me it kind of highlights Mia’s flaw to me – she sees herself as a ‘freak’ and doesn’t like it, but she’s not always particularly thoughtful of others who are labelled the same (Boris, for one, and she really only started hanging out with Tina because there was no one else).

    I felt the same about Mia’s concerns no longer being relatable to twenty-somethings like us. There’s a particular scene in book 3 that reinforces to me how young she really is, but we shall discuss that when you’ve read it! 😉

    • Condescending is EXACTLY the word I was looking for when I was trying to write this post. It describes her so well. And I really don’t see how she can have any friends when she behaves like that :/

      What do we think about Michael though? I kind of loved their instant messages to one another

      • That’s a good point! Perhaps the other kids let Lily’s attitude slide the way Mia does because she’s a genius and they think it’s okay?

        I loved their instant messages too! I think Michael’s a sweetie, and he seems to genuinely care for Mia, more than Lily does actually. Mia’s obliviousness about his attempts to ask her to the dance was so exasperating.

  2. I think you are right when you say it’s an issue of not being part of the target age group any more. I think I was around ten or eleven when I read the first princess diary, and I loved it. I haven’t read it since though – this is a really interesting blog book club, I am really enjoying reading your posts 😉

    • I believe I was around that age group as well, and I was definitely like YES THIS IS AMAZING!! Now when I read it I frequently find myself cringing.

      I’m glad you are enjoying the book club posts. Are you thinking about re-reading the series one day? It really is interesting how some YA book just don’t surpass age lines while others do

      • Yes you have definitely made me want to read the series again! There is definitely something about YA books – they tend to be more upbeat than adult novels. I really like Jaclyn Moriarty books, they seem to hold up over time. And Louis Sachar.
        But yes, I am definitely going to go read the Princess Diaries! 😀

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