I love the movie The Princess Diaries. And the sequel. (And they’re both on Netflix right now!) And the books that the movies were based on were not really on my radar. But then someone wrote a Buzzfeed article about the differences between the books and the movies, and CBR10 Bingo had a square about books that have been adapted into movies, so I decided to give the book a shot. And I’m sad to say, in a reversal of what usually happens, that I like the movie better than the book!
The book is in a diary format (shocker!) which is nice. There are some similarities with the movie, such as Mia’s mother being an artist. But there are a lot of differences. We’re in NYC instead of San Francisco, which is fine. Probably cheaper to film there. Mia is a freshman, so she’s a bit younger than the movie. Mia has a very diverse friend group in the book, which is awesome, and would have been nice to see in the film. They all seem to be pretty well-off, though. The first book takes place over about a month, so I guess not all that much could happen. The movie covers the first three books in the series!
There are some things that I prefer in the movie, though. In the book, Mia’s dad isn’t dead – he gets testicular cancer, and theoretically can’t produce heirs anymore, so Mia is all he has. That difference by itself would be fine. No, the part I’m not on board with is how much of an asshole he is. He doesn’t ever really try to bond with Mia. Her mom goes out on date (still with her teacher, only we get the specifics that it’s her Algebra teacher, the subject that she’s failing) and her dad just watches sports all night, moping about because his ex is looking like a snack. He also tries to buy Mia off, which is poor parenting and not cool. And while her grandmother can be seen as awesome in her own way, she’s not Julie Andrews. Enough said of that. Oh, and Michael, Lilly’s brother, who has a crush on Mia in both the books and movie, is a senior when the girls are freshmen. That’s a big age and maturity gap. Half plus seven, man, so she’s too young! Oh, and we have Lars the bodyguard in the book, but he is nowhere near as awesome as Joe. Joe is the best!
So I get that there is a lot more events and development happening in the books (there are 19 in the series!) But going from just the first one, I’m sticking with the movie on this one.
This fulfills the CBR10 Bingo square of “The Book was Better?”