Shit. When did I get old?
Or at least, that is the overwhelming thought that overtakes me as I start Royal Wedding aka the bazillionth 11th book in the Princess Diaries series.
God, it brings me back. Just the tone, Mia’s candid obsessing, her bitchy but wonderful Grandmere; it’s all there like I never put the series down way back in 2004.
Yup, that’s when Wikipedia tells me I stopped reading the series – after reading Princess in Pink (aka #5) but before Princess in Training (#6). Son of a bitch. I guess even back then I had my over-5-volumes-is-too-many rule, though I did apparently make an exception for Heartland Harry Potter.
We’re even the same age again (mostly. What does two years mean anymore when you’re old enough to drink in every country?). It’s downright surreal.
I had to google what I missed in the 5 volumes I skipped and it actually wasn’t much. (It should be noted that when I started reading the series Google wasn’t something that existed had taken off yet.) Most of what I missed in volumes 6-9 sounds trite in the harsh cut and dry tone of Wikipedia, but I’m impressed with the series’ maturity by the end of volume 10 (the only one I’m sad I skipped).
Mia dates someone other than Michael for 3 volumes – by YA standards, she explored her options. That pretty much never happens. And even though she does end up with Michael it doesn’t sound like it was an easy path back to being a couple again. (Ironically, it was the fact that she stopped dating Michael that kept me from coming back to the series all those years ago – another sign of how much I’ve changed.)
Me vs. Mia
Cabot could have left it there, but it appears that Mia has a nostalgic pull that even her own writer can’t resist. So here we are, volume 11, and suddenly Mia is ahead of me in the life department.
- Mia has a fulfilling career (no developments there)
- She lives on her own (still co-habitating with the parents over here)
- Mia published a book (I barely have a functioning blog)
- She has a decent income (she is also a Princess and is therefore worth some $200 million so I don’t feel too bad losing on this one).
- She has a long-term boyfriend who is also a multimillionaire who proposes to her (I have no boyfriend, millionaire or otherwise. I also have no marriage proposals, but I’m ok with that.)
And it looks like, despite her constant and somewhat annoying complaints about being a Princess, she is going to be pretty good at the job. I guess we’ve both changed since high school.
But wait. There is more. This book has been more or less published with a companion book: Notebooks of a Middle School Princess. It’s middle-grade and contains minor spoilers for volume 11, so I won’t go into too many details, but sufficed to say this is a damn brilliant move. As one generation is saying good-bye to a childhood series (that gave us Anne Hathaway let me remind you), a whole new generation is going to get sucked into the series and grow up with it just like we did. We get our ending, and the younger generation gets a whole new beginning.
So. If you’ve been desperately trying to get a piece of your childhood back, this is it. Royal Wedding is that giant, magical portal back to a simpler different time in your life. Hallelujah. But it is also mirror showing you exactly how far you’ve come. The world has gotten a whole lot wider, and your problems have gotten a whole lot more complicated (I can’t say that Mia’s have).
And sure it waves a couple of things I’m missing in my life in my face, but hey, who’s the fictional character and who’s the living breathing human being, am-I-rite?
Holy shit, I am old.