Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Audiobook Review: Princess in Training by Meg Cabot

I grabbed this on a whim the last time I was at the library last week. I realized the wonderful world of audiobooks when I listened to The Devil Wears Prada while painting my garage. It's great for those guilty pleasure books. The kind that are plot driven without complex literary features, allegories, themes, etc. These are the kinds of books that I enjoy reading once in a while, but that are not absolutely essential to read. So, by listening to them, I still enjoy all the juicy plot bits, but don't feel as though I'm missing out on a literary experience. Plus, I can listen while I do other things, because missing a small bit isn't going to ruin the book for me.

Anyway, this book is one of Meg Cabot's Princess Diaries Series. I think they are good entertaining books and are pretty well written too. One of the things that I like about this series is that it's written as though you are reading the journal of the young princess. This feature is quite interesting as a book, but listening to a narration of it is a bit difficult. Especially when the book had bits that were text messages, emails, or instant messages. It is one thing to read "OMG!!!" It is quite another to listen to someone narrate it. Plus, the author makes quite good use of typeface cues for emotion and emphasis. These came across in the audio version, but not with the same charm as in the book. Plus, the princess sometimes lists things, has class schedules in there, homework, etc. and these are much more easily digested as a visual.

One thing I liked about this book was that the character made reference to the movies as though they were based on her life, rather than the first books. She actually pointed out their innaccuracies. It was kinda funny to hear it commented on in the story. Another interesting bit of meta-writing was when the main character made an argument about the validity of entertainment media.

I found the main character to be a bit wearisome to listen to. Perhaps I'm just older than I was when I started reading it. I can see where it would have a lot of appeal and recognition for teenage girls though.

Overall, another enjoyable story, perhaps not the best format to enjoy it in though.

Side note: still haven't seen the second movie. Now I'm in the mood to watch that one.

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