Welcome to Day Two of the Meg-A-Thon

posted by Jory on Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Disclaimer: This is one of my longer posts, but bear with me. I've got pictures. And ice cream. (Oh, but the ice cream is just for me. Sorry.)

This is the banner I made for Meg's Facebook contest. I didn't win. But it's okay. Because the winner's banner was quite nice. (Notice the change in cover styles since that blessed summer day in 2001.)
Hello fellow Meg Cabot readers. You're obviously here because of the Meg-A-Thon made of awesome, because I usually only get about 4 hits on my blog (and I'm pretty sure they're all from my mother).

Not that I'm bitter or anything.

But seriously, I'm very excited you're here. Welcome to my humble virtual abode. And, in the words of my grandpa, "take off your coat and stay a while." We can have tea and scones and, of course, talk about Meg, since that's why you're here anyway.

I met Meg, hypothetically, on a very special day: my 14th birthday. (Well, officially it was two days after my birthday because I was in Kentucky for work camp on my ACTUAL birthday. But whatever, I like to acknowledge that the first Princess Diaries book was released on my actual birthday because it makes it seem serendipitous.) See, here's the thing, back in 2001, before the first Harry Potter film created the massive hysteria - forcing non-readers everywhere to crack open the book, making reading officially cool - I was considered the weird kid who didn't take advantage of the full passing period because I preferred to get to my seat early and spend the extra time reading a few more pages. So, when I returned from Kentucky, and my mom told me I could pick out my own birthday present, I naturally directed her to Borders.

(::sigh:: RIP, Borders).

I remember it like it was yesterday. You'd think my mother would have been glad that I was so devoted to reading and expanding my schema, but no. The whole way there she kept shaking her head, asking me if I wouldn't prefer to go to the mall and get a new outfit for the upcoming school year. But I was adamant.

When I walked into Borders I made a beeline for the Young Adult section. Back then, it was only a row and a half of shelves. (I know. It's horrifying.) Being that it was brand-spanking new, the Princess Diaries book was on special display. But I passed right by it. I don't know why I did this. Maybe it was because it was (Meg, if you're reading this, I apologize) pink, or maybe it was the tiara on the cover, but whatever the reason, my brain was clearly not functioning at its full capacity at that moment.

I remember picking up a few books and checking them out (one of them was Go Ask Alice, which was recommended to me but, to this day, I have not read) until I got to the section of the shelf where "Cabot" popped up again. Here's the difference: someone had placed the Princess Diaries on the shelf with its back cover facing me. Something about that Doc Martin boot on the back cover (I mean, I HAD those boots) caused something inside me to stir. I grabbed the book and read the excerpt and I KNEW. I knew I had to have this book. I knew that somehow, some way, Mia was me in some alternate universe, and the author had reached into my soul and found a way to reach out to me in manuscript form.

Okay, that's a bit dramatic. But seriously, as soon as I read that back cover I felt strongly connected to it. Also, it might have been the reference to Baldwin, because I had a huge crush on Alec Baldwin when I was a kid (who didn't? I also had a crush on Bill Clinton before the whole Monica scandal thing went down, so maybe my judgement wasn't the greatest. Don't judge me, I was 10.)

Anyway, the Princess Diaries not only made me journal my life religiously in the event that someday my life might be as entertaining and exciting as Mia's (unlikely), but it introduced me to chick-lit and that honest, confessional style of writing that has been perfected by our esteemed Meg. Not only that, but it made me realize that I don't have to become as famous as Meg to be a great writer and if I can make one person laugh the way Meg has made me so many times,well, then I have succeeded.

Geez, I'm such a suck-up.

I've read all of Meg's books, including her first published novel ever, a romance novel that she released under a pseudonym. I recommend her to my friends and random people I meet any time I have the opportunity. (Seriously, sometimes I just shout "Read Meg Cabot!" across the street to strangers.) I reread my favorites (which change year to year) in between my heavier grad school reading. And last year, I finally got to meet Meg (not hypothetically) in Naperville, IL at a book signing. She was charming and beautiful and everything I imagined her to be. I only wish I had had the foresight to bring that romance novel I mentioned because I think she would have gotten a kick out of that.

Any book Meg writes, I know I'll read and love. But there will always be a special place in my heart for the Princess Diaries. It was released on my birthday. I was 14. Mia was 14. I grew up with her (albeit, maybe a little faster, because when Forever Princess was released in 2010, Mia was graduating from high school while I was graduating from college). But no matter how old I get, Meg keeps me young.


P.S. I've made it a habit at bookstores to shelve books with the back covers facing out, now, because sometimes it's just as, if not more, aesthetically enticing as the front. And let's face it, we do judge books by their covers, but sometimes we just need to get the full picture.

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