Synopses & Reviews
Thursday, March 10, the loft
As if doing good works for the less fortunate was not what being a princess is all about!
And okay, I can see how my whole Princess-Di-and-the-landmines argument didn't work on Grandmè re -- who thinks I spend enough time in my overalls as it is -- but my MOM? I just spent an hour impressing upon my mother Housing for the Hopeful's "theology of the hammer": how partnerships founded on common ground -- for instance, a lot of people from different cultural, religious, and socioeconomic groups getting together to build a house -- bridge theological differences by putting caring into action. I mentioned how everyone, no matter how uneducated, can use a hammer, turning it into an instrument that manifests peace and love.
My pregnant mom -- who was lying on her bed watching Stolen Women: Captured Hearts on the Lifetime Movie Channel with a carton of Hä agen-Dazs chocolate-chocolate-chip ice cream balanced on her enormous belly (even though she is supposed to be limiting her saturated fat intake to less than twenty grams daily due to her more-than-thirty-pound weight gainin the past half year) -- just looked at me and asked, "Mia, are you in a cult?"
OH, MY GOD! Only the extreme hormonal imbalance my mother is going through right now could make her believe that my working to provide affordable housing for the poor so that they can live in dignity and safety is in any way comparable to religious fanaticism.
When I mentioned that out loud, however, my mother shrieked, "Frank! Come here, quick! Mia's in a cult!"
Thank God Mr. Gianini came into the bedroom -- he'd been in the living room, practicing his drums -- and explained to my mother in a calm, reasonable voice that Housing for the Hopeful is not a cult, that it is a nonprofit, nondenominational organization dedicated to eliminating substandard housing and homelessness worldwide. He also said that he himself had volunteered to escort students from Albert Einstein the past five Spring Breaks, and that the only reason he hadn't gone this year was on account of my mom being pregnant with his unborn child, the sex of which we do not know because my mom says if she knows it's a boy she won't have any incentive to push, men being the reason we even need organizations like Housing for the Hopeful. Because male politicians make such bad decisions when they are elected to public office, such as starting expensive and unnecessary wars before making sure all their constituents have decent housing first, etc.
So then I pointed out to my mom that Tina Hakim Baba, who isn't even in Gifted and Talented, and whose father owns a bunch of oil wells and is always worried about Tina getting kidnapped by some rival oil baron's henchmen, has been given special permission to go. And that Lilly Moscovitz, residentschool genius and my best friend, is going. Ditto her boyfriend, Boris Pelkowski, violin virtuoso and mouth breather.
Then I added that my own boyfriend, Lilly's older brother Michael, is going, as well. I tried not to look too eager as I stressed this last piece of information. I mean, really, there's no reason to belabor the fact that Michael and I would be together, without parental supervision, in the wilds of West Virginia for five whole days. I was pretty sure my mom wouldn't be too thrilled if she realized this was the primary reason for my wanting to go. I tried to make it sound like the primary reason for my wanting to go was my desire to help those less fortunate than me.
Which is completely, 100 percent true. But also ... well, I sort of want to make out with my boyfriend without having his parents or my mother or stepfather or grandmother barge in on us.
Oh, and that -- hello -- the Appalachian Mountains are only, like, seven hours away from Manhattan by bus, and the whole trip is only for five days, so what is the BIG DEAL????
But my mom still looked a little skeptical ...
... until I mentioned that Grandmè re had declared that my wanting to go at all was entirely Mom's fault, for enrolling me in such a hippy-dippyschool in the first place.
When I told Mom that, she got this "look in her eye, and went, "Your grandmother said that? You know what, Mia? You can go. Now get out of the way, you're blocking Janine Turner."
It's a wonder I'm as well adjusted as I am, if you think about everything I have to put up with.
Well, whatever. After all that arguing, I'M GOING TO WEST VIRGINIA!!!!!!!!!!
What on earth is that princess up to now?
Hammer in hand, Princess Mia embarks on an epic adventure for one so admittedly unhandy: Along with her cohorts from school, she's off to build houses for the less fortunate. It doesn't take Mia long to realize that helping others -- while an unimpeachably noble pastime -- is very hard work. Will her giving spirit prevail? Will the house collapse due to royally clumsy construction? And most importantly, will Michael stop working long enough to kiss her?
What comes between Volumes IV and V of The Princess Diaries? Volume IV and a Half, of course!
About the Author
Meg Cabot is the author of the best-selling, critically acclaimed, immensely popular Princess Diaries
novels, as well as All-American Girl, Haunted,
and two Regency novels, Nicola and the Viscount
and Victoria and the Rogue.
Meg was born in Bloomington, Indiana, and her childhood was spent in pursuit of air conditioning, of which there was little at the time in southern Indiana. A primary source proved to be the Monroe County Public Library, where Meg whiled away many hours, reading the complete works of Jane Austen, Judy Blume, and Barbara Cartland.
Armed with a fine arts degree from Indiana University, Meg moved to New York City, intent upon pursuing a career in freelance illustration. Illustrating, however, soon got in the way of Meg's true love, writing, and so she abandoned it and got a job as the assistant manager of an undergraduate dormitory at New York University, writing on the weekends, and whenever her boss wasn't looking.
Meg lives in New York City with her husband, Benjamin, a poet, financial market writer and fellow Hoosier, and their one-eyed cat, Henrietta.