Sunday, January 14, 2007

Kristina The Girl King

This past week I read KRISTINA: THE GIRL KING by Carolyn Meyer. It is a title in the popular THE ROYAL DIARIES series published by Scholastic. As I mentioned yesterday, I absolutely love Carolyn Meyer. She is by far one of my favorite historical fiction writers for young people. One of the things I love about her is how each of her characters--whether a famous royal or an average, ordinary person--is presented as a real young person dealing with problems and situations that anyone of any generation can relate to. For example, MARY, BLOODY MARY and BEWARE, PRINCESS ELIZABETH both portray dysfunctional families. Yes, they were princesses, but they had love-hate relationships with their father. They definitely were dealing not only with sibling rivalry but also with some abandonment issues. How much worse can it get than your father disinheriting you and threatening to kill you??? And peer pressure, talk about the pressure of politics with every adult making power plays and trying to manipulate you to fit into their schemes. Anyway, back to Kristina. Kristina's family life left a lot to be desired. Her mother is presented as quite crazy. She was mean. She was manipulative. She was ungrateful. She was just an absolute terror to live with. When her father dies, Kristina's father that is, her mother refuses to bury the body not for days, not for weeks, not even for months, but for several years. Imagine being seven or eight and having to sleep in a room with a coffin. Yes, Kristina when she was with her mother experienced night mares on a daily basis. And the day time wasn't much better. Her mother was constantly yelling at her and belittling her. Talk about dysfunction. Fortunately for Kristina, her father has a group of men whose purpose is to rule the country and whose task is to prepare her to rule the country. When she's eighteen, this young girl will become KING, not queen, but King. Her father's will was clear that she was to have sole control that no future husband could take away from her. Kristina is a strong-minded, likeable character. It is a great book that I definitely recommend.

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