The Princess Diaries & Me
Like with many books I've come to adore over the years (like Jane Eyre and Ivanhoe) it all started with a movie. I was in Prep School, a sixteen year old freak with too much time on her hands who disregarded school, even as a junior, and spent every Wednesday at the movies and the rest of the time trying to wrestle the remote out of her grandmother's hand so she could watch Card Captor Sakura instead of the talk shows Grandma liked so much.
One day I had gone with my cousin Betty to see some movie and I saw the trailer for The Princess Diaries (And, really, how cute was Anne Hathaway back then?) and of course I wanted to see the movie, so when it opened I was there. I Adored it, and googled it (I had just gotten internet at home) and came across www.MegCabot.com which back then wasn't as it is now and mostly only featured these super long excerpts of The Princess Diaries and Princess in the Spotlight (and pictures of Tiaras and combat boots, I remember that).
I was intrigued but ultimately, we didn't have the books here in my country and I hadn't discovered amazon yet, so a couple of years passed before I actually picked one of the books.
I was 18 and lots of thing had happened, like my Grandma had recently died and I was thinking of dropping out of college since I totally wasn't feeling it. In the midst of this I left my country for the first time ever and went to Spain. It so happened that it was Book Week in Spain, and while I was wandering inside of a book store (I had never been inside of one that carried books published after 1980 that weren't on politics) I came across a blue book called Princess in the Spotlight (see left) and I bought it, I couldn't find the first one since apparently they ran out of them in Spain, or something, and I figured I had seen the movie, I should be able to follow the book (I was) and I loved it! I read i once on a long train ride from Granada to Madrid and then twice over during the 12 hour flight back back home.
It kept me sane. I loved Mia right away, she was awkward and funny and reminded me of a period of my life in which I had been very happy: High School (and I'm not even lying). When I came home -and dropped out of college much to my Mom's disgust - I devoted my newly freed time to hunt down book One and I learned how Mia discovered she was a Princess). It took me about a month, and many trips downtown but I found it and read it and then re-read book two.
For a long time that was it, my parents weren't thrilled with my not going to college-not doing anything for a while plan; so I was broke (even though I had finally discovered amazon and stopped being bitter about the sad state of publishing in my country, it sucked then and it still sucks now) and eventually got tired of vegging out home, reading fanfiction and decided to go back to college and my parents gave me back my allowance and I blew it pretty much on books. I got Princess in Love and I squealed like Tina Hakim Baba almost all the way through. And that bit near the end about how Fat Louie came to Mia? One of the sweetest tid bits I've ever read.
Then, I suppose, we come to Book 4: Princess in Training a lot of people have told me this is not their favorite book but I actually really liked it, again, it spoke about being awkward at 14 and unsure. And it mentioned Star Wars heavily, I'm a SW sucker.
Also, around the time I read it I became really involved with Meg Cabot Book Club and I've made some seriously awesome friends at it (I know the rules, so I'll stop babbling about the MCBC, but I'll answer something a few people have asked me: How was the forum when it first started? Answer: Pink).
And Pink features prominently on the next book Book 5: Princess in Pink which relates Mia's quest to go to Prom with her boyfriend Michael! And one of Grandmere's many lies came out on the open! and Rocky arrived!
Oh, and the Snowflake Necklace makes its first appearance and Mia turns fifteen. Half way through and I was still laughing. Even though I was starting to dislike Lily at this point. I was becoming more and more a fan of Tina. Tina the world rules.
And so we reach books 6 and 7: Princess in Training and Party Princess, by this point, though I'm still laughing, I'm starting to get very annoyed at Lily and a little at Mia with all the whinnying. I guess everything does seem life and death at that age. In a nutshell: Tina and Boris are going out (Lily dumps him in Princess in Pink), Mia ends up as student body president thanks to Lily's machinations. Then in Party Princess Hate-When-They-Put-Corn-in-the-Chili-Guy gets a name: J.P. and Lily takes up with him. At this point I'm not yet annoyed with J.P.; and Mia and Michael talk about sex: yes, he expects they'll have it some day, but he's also willing to wait until she's ready, though he want's to keep taking about it. Which actually does make sense.
By the time I got to Book 8: Princess on the Brink, I admit it had been a while since I had kept up with the series, I was a bit busy with school, finally deciding I was more than half way through with the necessary credits to finish and that it would be dumb if I didn't finish it. And my expectations were a little low, I have to admit. Yet, when I did get around reading the book I loved it!!! Mia is finally an upper class person, Michael has this huge project he wants to do... in Japan and Mia is debating weather or not is time to go ahead and do it, and if that will be enough to make Michael stay.
In short, lots of things are happening all at once and Mia is trying to catch up and though she means well she ends up making a big mistake. A trademark Mia freak out might have ruined her life! (I actually reviewed this here)
And now we come to Book 9: Princess Mia (also more detailed review here) and this is the point were I fell in love with the series again, all my faith restored. Mia's battle with depression, Dr. Knuts, Michael being gone and wanting to stay broken up! Lily being mean. and J.P. -who, by the end, was beginning to annoy me - starting to show his true colors; and Mia *gasp* befriending her former nemesis Lana. This book, I think, it's a lot about Mia finding her way on her own (with help of those that love her, but without using them as emotional clutches). And, of course, the humor is still there.
This book was like meeting an old friend again, and I found myself wanting to hug Mia and tell her everything would be all right. I was emotional all the way trough, I won't deny it.
And now we reach the end Book 10: Forever Princess (which I just read and reviewed here). Like I said, Michael is back, J.P. reached new heights of jerkiness, I actually came to like Lily again (or for the first time if I am to be absolutely honest). Tina keeps beeing the sweetest friend ever. There is plenty of Fat Louie and Rocky.
Basically, all I ever hoped would happen came to pass and it was great!!!!
Along with one of my favorite book quotes ever, courtesy of Mia:"Life is not easy for us unicorns, you know. We are a dying breed."
In a many of ways, HRH Princess Mia has been with me through a lot, just as I like to think I went through a lot with her, too. And for me, and for a tons of fans, she's not only a character in a book but a friend, and though I'm not exactly expecting to have more books about her int he future, I do hope to hear from her again, someday.