Monday, January 27, 2014

Book Review: "Princesses Behaving Badly" by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie

This is such an interesting book!  I love good narrative nonfiction, but it has to tell a good story.  Obviously.  And this is a good story - or a collection of stories to be more accurate.  First things first, I am a Disney fan.  I love the Disney movies and the Disney Princesses.  But those are fairy tales, right?  Right.  So this author takes a closer look at the lives of real Princesses throughout history.  Guess what - she fills nearly 300 pages their stories, none of which have the fairy tale ending.

I really like the author's voice throughout this book.  She clearly has a feminist perspective, but expresses it with this snarky edge that made me chuckle.   To give you an little idea of what I'm talking about, the stories are grouped together in the following sections:  Warriors, Usurpers, Schemers, Survivors, Partiers, Floozies, and Madwomen.  Then between some of the stories are asides that share shorter stories that are building on the same theme.

These stories are great - women who took over for their crazy/stupid/ineffective husbands, women who took the lead in battle, women who pretended to be someone else, women who slept their way around without apology and so many, many more.  There are unsung heroes and those that make you shake your head. I don't know if I could pick my favorite story out of the bunch - there are a few warrior and usurper stories that were very inspiring.  I also liked learning more about some recognizable names - like Anne Boleyn and Queen Elizabeth II's younger sister Margaret.  I also didn't know the story behind Anastasia (or the woman who pretended to be the 'lost' Romanov) which I found kind of amazing that she was able to, you know, do that.

So put this on your list if you are looking for a fun narrative nonfiction account of some very interesting royals throughout time and from all around the world!

Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History - Without the Fairy-Tale Endings
by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie
Quirk, 2013
285 pages plus a selected bibliography
Source:  Publisher for honest review


6 comments: said...

I'm definitely checking this out at some point. I heard about it on one of the podcasts I listen to (Books on the Night Stand) and thought it sounded interesting.

Wesley said...

I just reviewed this book on my blog too! Great minds think alike, obviously! I agree, I liked the warrior princess stories, it king of helped even out the sadder ones.

click clack gorilla said...

This looks amazing!

Sam (Tiny Library) said...

This has gone straight on my wishlist!

Heidi’sbooks said...

Wow, this does look awesome! Thanks for the review. I've never seen nor heard of the book before.

Aarti said...

So fun! I was afraid from the title that this would be more fluff than substance - glad to know the stories were so inspiring!

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