Monday, August 29, 2011

The Princess Academy

It was a great end of summer for me -  a wedding, an extended trip to see family, our first family campout (a success!), and long days spent at the park.  Now it is back to school and I am hoping back to regular blogging.

A few days ago I indulged in re-reading Shannon Hale's  The Princess Academy - and it was just as wonderful the second time around. It tells the story of Miri a 14-year-old girl who lives at the top of Mount Eskel where they quarry linder.  Miri is small for her age and her father will not allow her near the quarry.   She is friendly and quick to laugh and no one would expect that her exclusion from the quarry is a source of anxiety for her.  The lowlanders give them little money for their linder and food is scarce - but despite this Miri and the people on Mount Eskel are generally happy.

Life changes for the people of Mount Eskel when the priests in Danlander divine that the future bride of the prince will come from Mount Eskel.  All the young girls from 14 - 18 are required to go down the mountain three hours to attend a princess academy. Everyone is apprehensive about what this will mean for the girls as well as for their society at large.

The story that unfolds tells of Miri's coming of age - learning to read, listening to and learning the language of the linder and learning to leave and appreciate home.  Hale's use of language creates a story with a strong heroine and words that create an enjoyable escape.

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