Favorite Princess

I don’t want to spend too much of 2010 writing about books from 2009, but I’ve got to finish up these reading posts, so here’s a quick one.

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Grade: A+

In A Little Princess, the main character is a little girl named Sara Crewe. She was raised in India, but when she reaches a certain age, her father feels it is time for her to attend a good school in England. He drops her off and instructs Miss Minchin, the head of the school, to buy Sara the best of everything and send him the bills. When a series of sad events leaves Sara fatherless and penniless, she is forced to work as a drudge in the same school where she was once treated as a princess. Her inherent goodness, intelligence, and talent for storytelling allow her to keep her friends, as well as make new ones, and that helps her as she struggles to find happiness in spite of her unfortunate circumstances.

A Little Princess has been one of my favorite books since childhood. I recently saw the movie version starring Shirley Temple and I was shocked by some of the plot changes. It didn’t seem at all what I remembered, so I had to reread the book to compare the two. I also thought it might suit my mood, and it did. It really cheered me up.  And I was right about the plot changes. In the Temple movie, Fate gives the main character (Sara Crewe) a break. The worst thing that happens to her is pretty much undone by the end of the film. In the book, Sara suffers longer and more cruelly, and it is her goodness, not good luck, that leads to her happy ending. I think that’s what I like best about it. It’s about trying to be happy no matter what happens to you, and that’s a good lesson for all of us to learn.

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