Princess Diaries Review || Comparisons, Criticisms, & Clarisse

Author: Meg Cabot Series: The Princess Diaries #1 Publishing Date: September 19th, 2000 Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Cont...

Author: Meg Cabot
Series: The Princess Diaries #1
Publishing Date: September 19th, 2000
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Humor
Page Count: 283

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Mia Thermopolis is pretty sure there's nothing worse than being a five-foor-nine, flat-chested freshman, who also happens to be flunking Algebra.
Is she ever in for a surprise.
First Mom announces that she's dating Mia's Algebra teacher. Then Dad has to go and reveal that he is the crown prince of Genovia. And guess who still doesn't have a date for the Cultural Diversity Dance?


This is going to be one of those rare moments where a book junkie says, "The movie was better." But here I am shouting it! I partially think the movie was better because I grew up on it and there's a whomping glob of nostalgia clouding my judgement, HOWEVER... I have blown that big cloud of affection for the film away and have taken a clearer critical eye to the actual content of the book, and I still have to say that I'm not impressed. Now this book, and movie, have been out since like, 2001. If you haven't heard about the basic story line or actually experienced it for yourself by now then I'm sorry. If you would like for this story to remain under a shroud of mystery then stop reading this review. 

Spoiler time.

Okay so the biggest difference between the book and the movie is the main character- We all love Movie Mia, right? Her comedic timing is spot on. Her awkward is relatable. She's kind of that goofy background character we all feel like. She's got that big wild matted brown hair, bushy eyebrows, and she's kind of sloppy. She lives with her artsy mom in an old fire house. They're a quirky duo taking on the world together. Her dad is dead, and she has a rich grandma. She attends high school and is a
normal (slightly overlooked) person.

That's her life. When she's told she's a princess she's like 

She processes it like a normal person. She's in shock. She can't believe it. It's like a cruel joke.

She doesn't want to deal with being in the public, and cameras, and the press, and all the responsibility that comes with being a princess. She doesn't want to leave San Francisco. The reality of being a princess is something she doesn't want. AND IT'S BELIEVABLE AND RATIONAL.


The minor differences are that book Mia is actually a blonde from New York City. Her and her mom live off the money her dad sends them. Mia goes to France every summer to a castle to be with her grandmother and father. Her dad has testicular cancer. And the reason he needs her to be his heir is because he can't have anymore children. It's like, well, cancer took my balls and you're the only child I have so now it's your duty to take my place when I die. Okay I can roll with these differences.

I had a difficult time accepting Book Mia. I mean I'm not outraged by the differences it's just like, "WHO IS THIS IMPOSTOR MIA??" She's so different from Movie Mia. Book Mia is annoying. Her dialogue is full of exclamation points, and she's obsessed with the size of her boobs and everyone else's boobs.

And she's not really observant. Example: her dad's name is Phillipe Renaldi, and he's a big deal with the government of Genovia, and he has a lot of money, and him and his mother own castles. For one of her classes, Mia has to look up countries and she looked up Genovia. It clearly states the reigning prince of Genovia is Artur Christoff Phillipe Gerard Grimaldi Renaldi. AND SHE DOESN'T MAKE THE CONNECTION. THERE'S EVEN A PICTURE OF HIM.

Later, her dad and her make a list of their agreements that they'll honor in regards to her being a princess. He'll let her live her own life until he dies. All she has to do is some princess duties- go to some royal functions now and then and be a princess when he needs her to be. Later she goes to grandma's house and she has to have her princess lessons, right? Because you can't just show up to a royal ball and be unprepared. You have to know how to deal with all that stuff and be proper, BUT SHE GOES AND GETS ANGRY AT HER DAD BECAUSE HE SAID NOTHING ABOUT PRINCESS LESSONS IN THEIR AGREEMENT. 

There were just a lot of moments where Mia didn't make connections or maintain logical thought, and those moments annoyed me. Those moments coupled with her childish behavior really through me off. I was expecting Anne Hathaway. So I was disappointed.

Mia's grandmother, Grandmre, is a wildly different creature from Queen Julie Andrews.

Look at that elegant Queen in the gif! She is so precious and sophisticated. She is Julie Andrews. Book Grandmre is more like John Mulaney's bulldog Petunia. She's a badass chain smoking french woman who always drinks a sidecar (alcohol), her eyeliner is tattooed onto her eyelids, she only speaks french (english is a vulger language), and she kind of growls because of all her smoking. Grandmre Clarisse is tough, rough, and gets shit done.

I suppose I don't have many true criticisms for Princess Diaries. It was a cute book about a 14 year old girl who becomes a princess all of a sudden. Personally, I didn't care for her. She used too many exclamation points, and said things like "as if". The book makes a lot of pop culture references that dates it. It was just too young for me.

This might be too low of a rating. I did enjoy the story mostly, but it was only okay. I wanted more Princess and less...childish dialogue. And more Michael (both book version and movie version WHY ISN'T HE IN THE SECOND FILM??). It's not something I would recommend to people. I could rate this book three out of five stars with some time away from it.

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  1. I have actually never read the books. I am curious to read to them. I did enjoy the movies a lot though. :)

  2. I personally read and DEVOURED the books before I even knew there was a movie. I absolutely loved the books and the movies, and I loved both Mias. Since I read the books first, I thought Movie Mia's dad situation was weird, as in a most of the books, the dad's interaction with Mia and Grandmère was a big part of my enjoyment. However, I loved both representations, but I think my thoughts would be different if I'd watched the movies first.

  3. I tried to read the books after loving the movie version, and it didn't work out so well for me. I was immediately turned off by the format and the writing. Also, the characters really didn't cut it. Even though it's sacrilege, I have to say I loved the movie more. HOWEVER. I did love your breakdown, and I thought this was a really interesting post! I agree with you on lots of the points of you made, and I liked the general idea behind it :D

    - Eli @ The Silver Words

  4. Personally, the books are for a younger audience. The tweens type audience. If you're older you get rather annoyed with mc. Either I prefer the movie. It's just better.