`Princess Diaries’ is a breezy, witty read
Princess in Waiting (The Princess Diaries, Vol. 4); Meg Cabot; 224 pages; Harpercollins Juvenile Books; $15.99
Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Renaldo is the royal heir to the Genovian throne. Mia Thermopolis is a gawky freshman at Albert Einstein High School in New York City. Interestingly enough, Amelia and Mia are one and the same.
Three books ago, Meg Cabot introduced us to the lovable Mia in The Princess Diaries. Back then, Mia was blissfully unaware of her royal connections. However, her secure world of worshipping mega-jock Josh Richter, avoiding super-cheerleader Lana Weinberger, battling failing algebra grades, and striving for self-actualization came crashing down with the arrival of Grandmere and after-school princess lessons.
The only problem is that Mia isn’t the typical princess. According to herself, Mia is dominated by her triangular-shaped hair, over-endowed feet, under-endowed breasts, and nostrils that flare when she lies. She fails to fit the stereotypical princess mold. But that is why she is so entertaining. Apart from her exceptional destiny, Mia is exceptionally ordinary.
Fourth in the series, “Princess in Waiting” focuses primarily on Mia’s persistent attempts to install parking meters in Genovia and her developing relationship with lifelong crush Michael Moscovitz. Mia’s exaggerated insecurities and embellished storytelling make her misadventures in love and politics truly comical.
Concerned about her new beau’s vacation location, Mia expresses her worries: “You know what they have a lot of in Florida? Beach and pool parties. You know who goes to beach and pool parties? Girls in bikinis. Like the girls from that movie `Blue Crush.’ Like that one, Kate Bosworth, who had the one blue eye and the one brown eye and the tiny shorts. Yeah, that one. How is anyone supposed to compete against a surfer girl with one blue eye and one brown eye, I’d like to know?????”
As the Princess Diaries is written in journal form, Cabot’s style reflects stream of consciousness.
The passages are punctuated with run-on sentences and complex, compound statements that offer a touch of realism to counter the fantastic flair.
Mia’s thoughts are expressed exactly as though a teenage girl truly scribbled her life onto paper: “Gave televised Christmas Eve greeting to Genovian public. Strayed somewhat from prepared speech by mentioning amount of revenue generated in five boroughs of New York City by parking meters, and expressed belief that installing parking meters in Genovia would contribute greatly to national economy, while also discouraging cheap-skate day-trippers from venturing across our border.”
Although the story line is simple and the plot never dips below the surface, “Princess in Waiting” is still an amusing, breezy read. Cabot’s writing is clever, witty, and full of humorous allusions. Mia is a hilarious character that the self-conscious reader greatly appreciates and admires. She may appear childish and exaggerated, but her insecurities are nonetheless charming.
Mia’s unique situation casts a subtle doubt cloud over the story, but her antics and exploits provide the necessary cheer. Because while Mia may be a “princess in waiting,” she still acts like a fairly typical, albeit slightly neurotic, teenage girl.
Jessi Rochel is a student at Roaring Fork High School.
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