Welcome to the first installment of the A to Z April Blogging Challenge!
Today, to kick things off, I want to talk about one of my favorite fictional heroines: Princess Amy, from M. M. Kaye’s The Ordinary Princess. This is one of those few books that are impossibly perfect and perfectly lovable.
Amy’s full name is Amethyst Alexandra Augusta Araminta Adelaide Aurelia Anne. She’s the youngest of seven sisters, each more beautiful than the last—but her christening present was to be ordinary, so while her siblings’ hair is golden and gently curled, Amy’s is mousy and brown and limp. Her freckles are a scandal, and by the time she is sixteen she has taken to slipping out of her bedroom in the palace and hanging out in a house in the woods, where at least she doesn’t feel like she is constantly letting everyone down.
Like Cimorene in the equally wonderful Dealing With Dragons, Amy runs away rather than let her parents marry her off in humiliating fashion to some prince who thinks she’s nothing special. She ends up in a neighboring kingdom and then… well, who am I to spoil the rest of the story?
It’s impossible to overstate how many times I’ve read this book, and how much comfort it brought me over the years. It’s one of the classic “be true to yourself” stories that got so many of us through so many rough, awkward teenage years (to say nothing of the rough, awkward grownup years we’re still trying to wrap our heads around).
Even now, when I’m tempted to worry about how I’m letting people down by not being perfect all the time, I recite Amy’s string of names like a mantra of strength.