The Princess Diaries – reviewed by Anna Kovalenko

The Princess Diaries

by Meg Cabot

Reviewed bu Anna Kovalenko – from Belarus


I decided to write a review of The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot because it was the first book from Macmillan Readers which I bought three years ago. Since then I’ve read and listened to a lot of Macmillan Readers including The Princess Diaries 2, 3 and 4. But it was The Princess Diaries which laid the beginning to my collection. So this review is just paying a tribute to Meg Cabot, Anne Collins and Macmillan publishers.

When I saw the book in the shop I’d heard nothing of Meg Cabot. It was the main reason for buying the book.

A week later I came across the two hit DVD films by Walt Disney based on The Princess Diaries series. The cast was irresistible: Julie Andrews, Anne Hathway, Hector Elizondo. The  films were described as a hilarious, hip and heartwarming modern day Cinderella story. I bought the films and enjoyed watching them in English. Then I searched the net, found Meg Cabot’s site and learned that at first writing novels was just a hobby for Meg.

The Princess Diaries is written in the form of a diary of  a 14-year-old girl where she  expresses her intimate thoughts, feelings dreams and desires.

The main character – Mia Thermopolis – lives with her artist mom Helen  and her cat, Fat Louis, in New York City. She’s a typical teenager who’s got a lot problems: she’s unpopular at school, she looks like a freak, she’s got huge feet, she’s flunking Algebra, no boy has ever asked her out on a date. Then her mom starts dating Mia’s Algebra teacher. And above all – Mia’s dad comes from a make-up European country called Genovia and tells Mia that he’s not just a famous politician but the Prince of Genovia and Mia is a princess and his only heir to the throne.

Some teenage girls dream of being a princess and would be glad to hear such news. But Mia is shocked. She’s shy and timid. She’s unwilling to change her life. For Mia, being a princess is just another problem she has to deal with and solve. Mia’s dream is to join Greenpeace and save whales from danger. She also wants to look like her classmate Lana Weinberger who is very beautiful and dates Josh Richter, the best-looking boy in the school.

Mia’s dad, Philip Renaldo, reaches an agreement with her. According to it, Mia will become the ruler of Genovia when he dies.  Mia will also have to attend special princess lessons and to learn how to behave like a princess. The lessons will be given by Grandmere, who is a bit scary and very extravagant.

Mia does her best, overcomes different problems and at the end of the book she finds her love and feels peaceful and happy.

The book shows how to stay true to yourself, your friends and your family even if your world is turned upside down. Mia has courage to face great, unexpected and even unbelievable changes in her life. She reveals her best qualities – honesty, kindness,  sincerity.

The book is realistic and romantic at the same time. It’s about friendship and betrayal, about complicated relations at school and in the family. It reminds the reader that love, compassion, sympathy are the most precious things in life.

It’s a girly book. I gave it to some boys to read. I simply wanted them to read something in English. I was a bit surprised when they read the whole Princess Diaries series and enjoyed it!

Modern boys also have romantic feelings  and dream of kind and understanding girls.

I think this funny and entertaining book is worth reading.