I have a secret I need to share, and here it is… I love the Princess Diaries. Yupp, you read right. I, Tai Rachel, love the Princess Diaries, and before you stop reading this because you’re already judging me, allow me to tell you why.
For those of you who have no idea what idea what I’m on about, The Princess Diaries are a book series by Meg Cabot, and they’re about Mia Thermopolis, a teenager who has her world turned upside down, when she’s told she’s a princess and heir to the throne of Genovia, a fictional European country.
It was adapted into two films in 2001 and 2004, both starring Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews, if that rings a bell for you. I use the term ‘adapted’ very loosely though, because the films completely deviated from the plot of the books. Yeah the films weren’t that bad (the first was much better than the second), but to die hard fans of the books like myself, they’re a bit of a joke, really. So… corny, you know? I mean come on, Disney, you had one job. ONE JOB.
So what exactly do I like about these books? I’ll admit that at first glance they look like stereotypical teen fiction fluff. You know, the ones with the typical formula of a socially awkward girl with a “nerdy” bestfriend/sidekick, who goes from drool to cool overnight, and then manages to get the guy of her dreams, and they all live happily ever after, yadda yadda yadda, but The Princess Diaries are much more than that. Here are some reasons why;
– They inspired me to start keeping a diary. 13 year old Tai was very shy and wasn’t very good at expressing her feelings, you see. I used to keep things bottled up, so I identified with Mia, who also documented her innermost thoughts in her diary. Over the series, she gets better at speaking her mind and telling the truth, and this is something I too have improved at (I hope!).
– Meg Cabot’s portrayal of Mia and teenagers is accurate and relatable in a non-cringey way, as the books are filled with numerous popular culture references that make me laugh everytime I read them. Some people might argue that that makes them ‘dated,’ but I personally think it works for the series.
– The books introduced me to what are now two of my favourite quotes; “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent,” by Eleanor Roosevelt, and “No one has ever died of embarrassment,” which is said by Clarisse Renaldo, the Dowager Princess of Genovia.
– They taught me great lessons about friendship. At the end of the series, Mia reflects on how the friends you lose as you age are hopefully only the ones that aren’t good for you. True friends are “more precious than all the tiaras in the world,” and are there for you even when you think they aren’t, and this is shown through Mia and Lilly’s friendship especially.
– Mia spends a lot of the series feeling unworthy of Michael’s affections because of his, in her opinion, superiority in intellect, talent and general life experience, and this taught me a great lesson about self esteem. We spend a lot of time focusing on things we can’t do by comparing ourselves to others, and this is just a waste of time and energy. By the last book, Mia’s self confidence has massively improved, because she eventually realises that her accomplishments may be “small things” in her eyes, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t something, and they sure as heck don’t make her inferior to anyone.
– I’ll also admit that I was kind of (and still am) a bit in love with Michael Moscovitz. He’s totally up there with Mr Darcy in my list of Fictional Characters I Wish Were Real. His relationship with Mia is sweet because he too feels inferior in comparison, so he proves himself worthy of dating a princess in a totally awesome way. Like, WAYYY awesome. And he does it in a Mr Darcy-esque move, so that makes him even more awesome. What does he do, you might be wondering? Well I guess you’ll just have to read the books…
So yeah, if you’re still reading this, I hope that was enough to make you not judge me. If you still judge me, well I guess I tried. I’ll end with this: A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett was one of my favourite books in primary school, because it’s core message was that anyone can be a ‘princess’, and to 9 year old Tai, that was awesome. But The Princess Diaries goes even further to teach that being a princess can be great, but you don’t necessarily have to be one to make a change and have an impact in the world; you can achieve this on your own without aspirations of royalty. So to me, that is even more awesome.
***UPDATE: So I’ve just found out that there are two new Princess Diaries books being released next year, THIS HAS MADE MY DAY!!!!!!