Warriors, partiers, lesbians, divas, cross-dressers, queens, Nazi spies, empresses, murderers, frauds and more -- 'Princesses Behaving Badly' captures the fascinating biographies of princesses around the globe.
Most of these are stories you won't find in any Disney movie. Indeed, you might recognize some of the princesses featured in 'Princesses Behaving Badly' from the Cracked.dom article "5 Real Princesses Too Badass for Disney." 'Princesses Behaving Badly' covers the "badass" in seven categories: Warriors, Usurpers, Schemers, Survivors, Partiers, Floozies, and Madwomen. Though the biographies typically range from one to three pages, it's a pretty comprehensive list.
The book begins with a thoughtful reflection on the princess phenomenon, which markets princesses to young girls as role models or ideals of beauty. As 'Princesses Behaving Badly' shows, however, real princesses were real people -- and they were much more complicated. There's more to most of these princesses than just their titles.
Some of them could be called role models, and some of them were certainly beautiful. But many of these women schemed and battled (scandalous!), wasted and spent (even worse!), murdered and connived (the horror!), or met tragic ends. There's a reason the full title is 'Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History, Without the Fairy-Tale Endings.'
Told with wit and thoughtful historical criticism, 'Princesses Behaving Badly' doesn't simply summarize. Nor does it attempt to justify or explain away any "bad" behavior. Author Linda Rodriguez McRobbie gives historical context for these women's lives and actions, acting as an intermediary between contemporary readers and these women from history. She offers context that is often denied many female historical figures who are dismissed or judged by modern standards without an attempt to understand their circumstances. She also approaches the problematic princesses (the Nazi spy comes to mind) with candid appraisal that doesn't shrink from the realities of history.
'Princesses Behaving Badly' is accessible non-fiction with an engaging narrative voice. It's a great read for the history buff, the feminist, the princess fanatic or the lover of historical fiction. As a plus, it's also a very aesthetically pleasing book, with beautiful illustrations and artwork by Douglas Smith, best known for illustrating the 'Wicked' novels. The content, however, speaks for itself. Funny, irreverent, thought-provoking and informative, 'Princesses Behaving Badly' is a great addition to women's history.