Aug 24, 2010
Confession time: I kept avoiding this book because even though I love Lois Lowry, I just kept thinking "not ANOTHER book about a princess who trades places with a peasant..."
Surprise! I should have trusted my Lowry-instincts...it was fun, clever and completely original. When bored 16-year-old Princess Patricia Priscilla decides to trade clothes with her chambermaid and go to school, she has LOADS of fun and meets a handsome schoolmaster to boot. When she invites her new village friends to her big birthday ball, things at the castle get a lot more interesting.
This experience made me remember the advice I always hear when I attend a writer's conference: even if you have the exact same idea(s) that other writers do, NO ONE can write your story the way you can. And in fact, Lois Lowry herself told me that very thing once. She was visiting The Children's Book World in Haverford, PA (Lois loves that store and so do we!) I found myself alone in the back room with her for a minute, and panicked, blurting out that I was a big fan, also a writer, hoped that someday I could write like her - and then she gently said something about how of course I would write like ME, not like her.
Sigh. Plus, she was the first author I wrote a fan letter to, way back in 1984, telling her I worked in a kid's bookstore and loved her. She wrote back to say that she was a fan of bookstore managers! No wonder everyone loves her - she is SO gracious.