Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Princess Academy

Princess Academy
By Shannon Hale

Princess Academy is about, well, girls who are sent to an academy to learn how to be a princess. This is because it has been decreed that the next princess is to come from the territory of Mount Eskel, where these girls are from. The girls aged 14-18 are to spend the next several months in education and training. Then the prince will visit them and choose his bride from among the girls. The very top girl will be introduced first and have a much nicer dress. Because the village of Mount Eskel is in the mountains near the mines, there are no appropriate buildings for this academy. Therefore all the girls must travel to the nearest stone building located at the mountain pass.

The academy is rather horrific and the methods used to "discipline" the girls would certainly be considered child abuse. The girls are all illiterate and used to hard labor. I suppose we would call them country or even uncivilized. The main character, Miri, is a tough character who eventually becomes a leader and learns what makes her people unique. Her understanding will eventually better the lives of her family and their village. But the question remains, does Miri want to be a princess?

I really enjoyed this book. I would consider it a quick read but with some very good characters and life lessons. I would love my son to read it but he would most likely consider it too girly.

What did Princess Academy have to do with my faith? Would it not be helpful for new Christians to go to some academy to learn how to be a child of God? There they could learn to read the Bible, interpret scripture, pray, practice Spiritual disciplines and become Christians. However, life as a follower of Christ is not like that. We must learn on the job, follow good Christian mentors, and make mistakes even as we grow. Like Miri trying to discern if she really wants to be a princess, we still have to struggle again and again if we really want to be God's child. Loving God and neighbor is not something someone can really teach us -- we have to live it out through the help of the Holy Spirit.

I recommend Princess Academy.

Happy reading!


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