If you didn’t know, I deeply love the Princess Diaries films, it has always been a favourite of mine. A film I can watch over and over again, it’s actually one of my comfort films as mentioned in a previous post. I feel like Mia is one of the best written main characters of YA, we understand her, she’s consciously trying to grow and better herself, I love her supporting cast of characters too who are all on the liberal side. To me, it’s just quite the masterpiece. As a child, I struggled to read for a long time and didn’t really get into reading books myself until I was roughly 13-14. Now I’m 25 and have a degree in writing, I feel like it’s time I went back and checked out what I was missing as a child.
I’ve gotten into ebooks recently, the pandemic means buying physical items can be a bit risky, so for safety and also cost ebooks are winning my heart at the moment. (I just found that kindle have a whole section of classics you can get for free?? Needless to say I gained at least 12 books when I realised this) but anyway, this is what I thought of the first Princess Diaries book.
Check out my YA reading vlog for my opinions on this book series, this author and others that came out around the same time.
I feel like it’s always a weird scenario when a film just completely cuts a character from the story, so going from being used to the idea that Mia’s father was dead to reading the book where he is still alive, but fought cancer, was a bit of an adjustment. It was nice to see the way Mia’s parents interacted with each other as they were no longer a couple and haven’t been for years. Lots of kids have parents that aren’t together anymore (me) but they have to navigate seeing and speaking to each other.
I was sad about Queen Clarisse in the book, she seemed much more harsh and old fashioned and not in the cute trendy way she is in the film. She wasn’t very likable in book one at all so, if I continue to read the series I hope and assume she gets a bit nicer! She seemed to be slightly better by the end of the book but still not great.
I did enjoy seeing a bit more interaction between Mia and Lily’s brother. All the missed moments between them were very cute but also the games Lily played with them both, the “would you rather mate for life with Shakira or Mia at the end of the world?” And finding out Michael actually low-key opened up to Lily about kinda fancying Mia and she just thought nothing of it half the time? This is one of my favourite parts of reading the book after the film, most of the time there is more that happened but had to be cut from the film and they’re fun to see.
I loved seeing more of Lily and Mia’s mum’s political stances in this book. I mean Lily being the child of two psychologists and using that knowledge to give advice to Mia? Page three, she says, “You’re always going around, lying about how you feel. Why don’t you just assert yourself for a change? your feelings have worth, you know.” truly iconic. and page 12 “Mom’s been depressed ever since her last boyfriend turned out to be a Republican.” Truly, I would feel the same way. And it’s a shame these small details are missed from the film. We are too focused on Lily’s activism and TV show, and Mia’s mum’s art and dating the teacher in the film, I would have loved more offhand comments like these to really fill in these characters more.
I also just really liked “Nobody messes with a girl in combat boots, particularly when she’s also a vegetarian.” and that just really hit home.
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I think I’ll probably continue reading these books because it was easy and fun, like a little holiday for my brain, and they’re relatively inexpensive as ebooks. I think both the book and the films are great separately. It’s also nice, during this time, to go back to things we enjoyed in our youth and just relax a little. I’ve been delving back into a few things I loved as a teenager, such as manga, but also reading book series I didn’t really get into when it was first popular like The Hunger Games. Nostalgia is a coping mechanism!
Book two was a major let down and I will be talking about it in my reading vlog on my YouTube channel soon!