Sometimes it seems like all I ever do is lie.
When the whisperings of Princess Diaries 3 began to emerge, I must admit I was more than a little bit excited. Despite being surprised at the pretty major plot and character changes made in the Anne Hathaway/Julie Andrews adaptation, the first film is still a firm favourite. So with Princess Diaries fever in the air (probably… somewhere…) I thought I better turn back to read the books I enjoyed all those moons ago.
Mia Thermopolis is fourteen, five foot nine, flat chested and frustrated. She’s considered to be a nobody at school and to make matters worse, her mother has started dating her algebra teacher! When her estranged father comes into town for one of his visits, Mia thinks nothing of it until he announces that, as he is unable to have any more children, she is now the sole heir to the Genovian throne and must take instruction from her Royal Grandmère on how to be a princess!
Written in the form of a diary, this first instalment of the Princess Diaries series, focuses on the seismic shift in Mia’s life – namely her hidden royal status. This huge bombshell reaches and ricochets through every aspect of her life and, through the eyes of a teenage girl, more drama than one could ever have imagined!
The hideously stereotypical cover aside, this book is quick-witted, fast-paced and full of loveable characters. Mia is every awkward teenage girl who wants attention but not to be noticed – she’s insightful, dramatic and intelligent but completely blind when it comes to certain things, namely boys. Cabot captures the naivety of a teen perfectly, balancing the ‘unfairness of it all’ without making her protagonist whiny or annoying. Mia is trying to find her way in the world with an even greater weight to carry – how can she manage high school and royal training?
Now don’t get me wrong, Julie Andrews can do no wrong as the grandmother in the films (she just is royalty!) but Cabot’s original Grandmère is a much less Disneyfied character and a little bit more interesting, in my opinion. She’s an incredibly formidable woman who is bullish and unpredictable, a bit bitchy but kickass. She promises mischief but appears to always have her granddaughter’s back…
In the opening instalment to The Princess Diaries Cabot has introduced the extraordinary to the ordinary. She’s taken the traditional of the teenage diary and made the circumstances more extreme without removing the everyday. Mia is still a hugely relatable and likeable character who guides you through the trials and tribulations of teenage angst, only in this case there’s an added tiara!