I am excited about the Chronicles of Narnia – Voyage of the Dawn Treader movie that just came out, because I read those books oh, say, 50,000 times when I was growing up. I recently re-listened to the audiobook and was surprised to see how little plot there was. The boyfriend, who had been passing in and out of the room and catching bits and pieces, asked, “What happened in that book?” and I said, “They sail to the end of the ocean” and he said “and then what” and I said, “Then they go back home” and he says, “But why did they go there?” and I say, “Well, sort of to find some people, but mostly just to see if they could,” and he says, “Oh.”
While there isn’t any big fancy reveal, there is lots of heavy handed morality about not being a horrible selfish person or a Lion with superpowers (aka Jesus) will zap you into a dragon and/or make you cry, which is fair enough and more children probably need to hear this advice. And the adventures are without a real point but very fanciful and interesting.
My only real beef with this book is that it basically crushed my self esteem.
Growing up (and still) I had a lot of freckles on my face, and I wore glasses, which my mom said was awesome, and I warily believed her. I was not so sure she was telling the truth, because of Jan Brady. Jan, you may recall, was the ugly sister, and just what was so ugly about her? She had freckles and wore glasses. In fact, she is so ashamed of her hideous freckles that she tries to burn them off with lemon juice, ha ha ha, what a funny, funny storyline. Hmph.
But the final blow was the text below:
My suspicions were true! No prince would ever love me. It was suddenly, heartwrenchingly, clear that, barring the possibility that I was actually adopted and would soon be sent for by my heretofore unknown royal relatives, I would NEVER BE A FAIRY PRINCESS.
Of course I’m exaggerating, but don’t underestimate the ego bruise an 8 year old girl gets when she reads in her favorite book that she is categorically unfit to be loved. In my own experience reading fantasy books as a (straight) girl, since all the cool characters were always boys, I had this pull towards the male leads where I simultaneously wanted to BE them and also to DATE them. So, needless to say, this was a double blow from Prince Caspian. I was able to get this screenshot without searching around because I still remember exactly where this line takes place.
And I’m not the only little girl with squints and freckles who was traumatized by this line. A search for “Squints, and has freckles” will draw up a number of random results, including some fanfiction that I will not link to because I don’t want to have to say anything mean about it.
Now that I’m an adult (more or less) I don’t find my own face nearly so interesting or worrisome. Though I wouldn’t turn down any job openings for fairy princess that were offered.
I do find it interesting that, according to Wikipedia, Marcia Brady (the pretty one who didn’t have freckles) became a washed up alcoholic, and Jan Brady (again according to Wikipedia) becomes a successful and freckled architect.