Thursday, 18 August 2011

Book Review - The Princess Diaries

Title: The Princess Diaries
Author: Meg Cabot
Series: Princess Diaries (book 1)
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Release Date: 1 Jun 2007

‘You’re not Mia Thermopolis any more, honey,’ Dad said. ‘You’re Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo. Princess of Genovia.’
A PRINCESS?? ME??? Yeah. Right.
One minute Mia’s a totally normal Manhattan 14-year-old. Next minute she’s heir to the throne of Genovia, being trailed by a trigger-happy bodyguard, taking princess lessons with her bonkers old grandmere, and having a makeover with someone called Paolo. Well, her dad can lecture her till he’s royal-blue in the face, but no way is Mia going to turn herself into a style-queen. And they think she’s moving to Genovia? Er, hello?

My Review
The Princess Diaries is one of my all time favourite films, I have watched it hundreds of times but surprisingly I had never read the books. I know - strange for me. So I decided now was the time. I requested the whole set from the library, I've got the first four so expect loads of reviews coming up. 
Mia thinks she is an ordinary teenager - ok not really ordinary she thinks she is a freak. Taller than the rest of her class, no figure, frizzy hair. Mean girls pick on her and the cutest boy in school doesn't know she even exists. 
Her parents are seperated, but when her dad comes home for a visit her life changes forever, he tells her that he is in fact Prince of Genovia and therefore she is a princess, Mia's life then becomes a series of 'princess lessons', stress, doubt, makeovers and press dealings. She's not even sure she wants to be a princess.
I know books and films do differ from each other a bit, but this was so different I was shocked. For one in the film Mia's dad is dead, but in the book he is very much alive and quite involved in her becoming a princess. Her grandma is tougher and less forthcoming and the bodyguard doesn't have any sense of humour. I hate to say this but I actually prefer the film. The things they changed I think they were for the better. Although I would have liked to have seen Tina in the film, she seemed like a great character.
Maybe if I had read the book before falling in love with the film I might have adored it but as it is, I did still enjoy the book but I felt a bit disappointed. It's strange how much films can affect us. I'm trying to think of them as two different things. If I really just think about the book it is very good.
I will definitely read the rest of the series, I enjoyed it enough for that, I enjoy Cabot's easy writing style and witty comments, her characters come alive on the page. 
So what do you think? Film or book? does the order you read/see affect your view?

My Rating
I would give this book 7.5/10 - I am trying to judge this as if I hadn't seen the film. The book is clever and funny. Princess Mia will take over your heart, but will she take over a country? hehe'   


Liz. R said...

Ooh, I definitely prefer the books to the film. I actually saw the film first too, and loved it. so I bought the series, and enjoyed it so much that I learned to love the books more! Glad you liked it though, even if you still prefer the movie. Great review :)

barmybex said...

As I'm going through the series I am enjoying it more, but the film still ranks higher with me at the moment. But I have special memories with the film so it's hard to get over the differences.
Thanks for stopping by.

Nicola said...

I've been meaning to read the books myself, I also really love the films! I enjoyed your review, it has made me really want to go read them!

barmybex said...

Nicola - thanks, I hope you enjoy them . ;D