Princesses Aren’t Just for Fairytales

Princesses Behaving Badly

17412780Author: Linda Rodriguez McRobbie
Release Date: November 19, 2013
Publisher: Quirk Books
Source: Quirk Books
Genre(s): History, Biography, Non-Fiction, Women

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Spoilers:  None
GoodReads | Amazon | Quirk Books

We all know the classic Disney interpretations of the old fairytales with their princesses and princes, talking animals and happy endings. Most of us grew up knowing that no matter how bad things got the bad guys would lose and the princess would live happily ever after. But as we grow up we learn that the real world doesn’t exactly work like that. The real world is harder and harsher. Things don’t always work out the way they should. And real princesses? They had a lot to more to deal with than just easily foiled villains and love sick princes.

Princesses Behaving Badly brings us real stories about real princesses from all around the world behaving, well, badly. Though, to be fair to some of them, behaving ‘badly’ may not be the best way to describe their particular quirks that get them into this particular anthology. Unladylike behavior and un-princess-like behavior gets you into this book, it seems, so spying and lying and cheating and being a bad ass warrior tend to be considered behaving badly where the ladies are concerned at least.

That minor criticism aside (I know, I know, they needed to make it sound sensational and – to be fair – a whole lot of these ladies were behaving very badly) Princesses Behaving Badly is a really fun read. Organized by themes and including stories from all over the world and throughout time, you get a real generous helping of real life princesses – and some fakers – who did some pretty extraordinary but often un-princess-like things. Some of the stories we may already know as they feature princesses and royals from the past few decades. Meanwhile other princess are only ‘real’ so far as you believe in legends, myths, and tall tales as a part of history.

Each and every story is presented in a nice, concise manner that tells you the the particular princess’s background and story – and often debunks misconceptions about them. The tone of the entries sometimes changes from applauding the princess to defending them to wondering about their actions. But you get a really good sampling and you get a very nice little supplement to your usual history class education. If anything the book definitely gives you a lot to Wikipedia and some of these stories you may never have heard otherwise.

I had a blast reading Princesses Behaving Badly. It was the perfect night-time reading book because you can read yourself a chapter or two without having to commit too much at one time. I can also see it being a great book for middle school and high school girls who want a little bit of HERstory without having to get bogged down in just one particular biography that may not be written for them. One thing I can always say about Quirk Books is that their authors always know how to write for and engage a broad audience.

Final Thoughts:
History buffs will appreciate these bite-sized looks at some of history’s most notable – and some previously unsung or unknown – princesses as they behaved badly. Plus it’s a gorgeous cover design that you can display proudly on your bookshelf. I have out on mine!

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