Monday, April 23, 2007

Nobody's Princess

Friesner, Esther. 2007. Nobody's Princess.

Do you like heroines who are strong, independent, and self-sufficient? You may want to meet Helen. She's not your average princess. Sure, her mother and father are king and queen of Sparta. And sure, she may grow up to be "Helen of Troy." But Helen is a young firecracker of a character. She is not going to stand around learning how to do needlework while her two brothers, Castor and Polydeuces, get to have all the fun of learning to ride and hunt. She's not going to miss out on all the fun of learning how to use spears and swords. Disguising herself as a boy, she fools everyone but her brothers and their teacher, Glaucus. Fortunately for Helen, he bought into her theory of how the future queen of the country needs to be able to defend herself. Now, being an adventurer and hunter like her brothers isn't all fun and games. Helen is learning it takes hard work, sacrifice, and a strong mind. Some may call her pretty. But Helen pays them no attention. She wants one thing in life: freedom to live HOW she chooses. Beauty can be just as much of a hindrance as a help in that regards. NOBODY'S PRINCESS is an exciting book full of adventures. Friesner takes a well-known figure in mythology and creates an adventurous, one-of-a-kind childhood for this heroine mostly known for her beauty and sexuality.

There were many things I enjoyed about Nobody's Princess. Helen is strong. She is resourceful. She doesn't take no for an answer. She knows what she wants and she works hard to get it. Very admirable traits in a heroine.

So there we are again. I could claim a kingdom, cause a scene at a shrine, refuse to sacrifice to a goddess, and get away with it all. My life would always be easy and pleasant because no matter what I did, everything would be forgiven, forgotten, laughed away because I was pretty. No, I was better than pretty. I was beautiful. (26)

I wasn't a slave, but as much as I hated carding and spinning and weaving wool, Ione and Mother forced me to spend day after day learning how to do it. What they said was: "This is what all women do, even queens," but what I heard was: This is all that women can do, and even queens have no choice about it. Was that being free? Clytemnestra wasn't a slave, but when she was old enough she'd be married off and sent away to live with her husband. Would she get to choose him, or would she simply be told, "This is the man you're going to marry," the same way that Ione told us, "This is the dress you're going to wear today." Was that being free? I sat up. I knew what I wanted. "I just want to say yes or no about my own life," I said. "Always." (33)


Debi 1:22 PM  

Wonderful review! I will definitely be adding this to my daughter's bookshelf!

Melissa 2:39 PM  

Ack! You have to stop reviewing books that aren't out yet. I want to read them, check the library, and .... they're not there! I'll have to figure out a way to remember this one until it gets to where I can get my hands on it.

Becky 5:12 PM  


I put some thought into this one. Its publication date is tomorrow. Of course, it will take a while for libraries to have it out of processing and on the shelves, but it will be there to look forward too some day.

Jackie 1:09 AM  

OO, I got some promotions stuff for this a few months ago, and I put it on my 'to read' list, then forgot about it! Thanks for the reminder!

Quixotic 3:24 AM  

Great review - will have to check this one out!

Marina 3:49 PM  

Coming off God of the Golden Fleece, my appetite is whetted for another good Greek read. Will have to find this at our library soon.

chittavrtti 11:03 PM  

Have you read Troy by Adele Geras? Or Goddess of Yesterday by caroline B. Cooney/ Neither one is told from Helen's perspective but thye do center around her time.***CV

Becky 9:00 AM  

Yes, I have read Troy and Goddess of Yesterday. I enjoyed them both. They're part of the reason why Nobody's Princess appealed to me.

Kailana 8:12 PM  

This book looks very interesting. I will add it to my list.

Maureen,  5:54 PM  

My 8th grade daughter enjoyed this book. Read about it HERE first!


Alkelda the Gleeful 11:40 AM  

This book sounds like it's up my alley. I go out of my way to read Helen of Troy books.

Marie Murtseas,  11:59 AM  

I read this book for a mythology book report for my english class. It was amazing! The author does get some of the myths in the book wrong, but it was still good.

rachel,  4:29 PM  

i read this book, and it as amazing! do you know any other good greek mythology books other than the lightning theif series?

emmat98 6:18 PM  

Well, im a 6th grade student and my class had to read it for an assignment. I loved it and so did my friends! Great Book, reconmend it

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