Published by Gotham on January 10, 2010
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Most young girls dream of becoming a princess. But unlike most girls, Jerramy Fine never grew out of it. Strangely drawn to the English royal family since she was a toddler, Jerramy finds Peter Phillips (the Queen's oldest grandson) in a royal family tree when she is only six years old, and decides immediately that he will be her future husband.
But growing up with hippie parents (who gave her a boy's name!) in the middle of a rodeo-loving farm town makes finding her prince a much bigger challenge than Jerramy ever bargained for. She spends her childhood writing love-letters to Peter c/o Buckingham Palace, and years later, when her sense of destiny finally brings her to London, she must navigate the murky waters of English social circles, English etiquette and English dating. Along the way, she meets Princess Anne (Peter's mother), befriends Earl Spencer, and parties with the Duchess of York. Yet life is not the Hugh Grant movie she hoped it would be. Her flatmates are lunatics, London is expensive, and English boys can be infuriating. But just when she thinks it might be time to give up and return to America, Peter magically appears in her life.
As soon as I found this book while browsing on Goodreads, I was extremely excited to read it, and I’m sure you can understand why! It sounds like so much fun. Jerramy is a funny writer, and some of her stories are pretty entertaining to read. I’m going to get a little critical for a minute, though, and this is hard because I do not want to offend the author. In fiction, if you don’t agree with how a character is portrayed that’s ok. Because they are imaginary. In the case with non-fiction and memoirs, though, the characters are real people. Writing a memoir is brave because you open yourself and your world up to criticism from outsiders, and there were certain things about Jerramy’s story that rubbed me the wrong way. I think they are worth mentioning, though, because they will help readers decide whether or not this book is the right fit for them.
Jerramy complains about her parents, makes fun of them, talks about how they embarrass her to no end, and how she is convinced she was switched at birth. When she finally moved away to college, she could not wait to leave them behind in the dust. They were so low-class, compared to her. That made me sad, even though I could understand where she was coming from. Yes, they were eccentric hippies with skewed views and weird ways… but they were her parents, and whether or not they sent her a monogrammed tray for rolling joints, and told her to try opium in her home before she went to college so she’d know how she reacted… they were still her parents, and you could tell they loved her. I wish she had been a little more respectful in her writing about them.
When Jerramy finally got to London, she drank and partied her way into the most prestigious social circles, one hangover at a time. She couldn’t even remember the names of some of the guys she made out with with. At one point the guy she was on a date with knocked on the bathroom door to check and see if she was ok. Before she could open the door, she had to shove another guy out the window. Of course, people are free to make their own choices but I got a bit tired of reading about these encounters.
Regardless of my issues with the book, Jerramy never, ever gave up on what was important to her. No matter how far-fetched it seemed, no matter how insane her friends thought she was for hanging posters of the royal family in her teenage room, and no matter how many people tried to stand in her way, she never gave up. I have to give her props for her determination. She lost friends along the way, her grades in school suffered, she went into major debt, she had her heart broken by a lot of the guys she met along the way, and she cried a lot, but she never gave up. I don’t know if many people would have been that persistent. I learned a ton about English culture and the royal family.
I totally envy some of the things Jerramy got to do along the way. I mean, who else got to spend New Year’s Eve 1999 in India and ring in the millennium at the royal palace there? If I remember correctly, I had an awful cold and spent the night in bed watching a ballroom competition on TV. Oh yay. She got to live in London! I love all things Europe, so I was quite envious of that. She went to a lot of parties and events that sounded so glamorous. She did meet members of the royal family, and eventually Peter himself. No, that was not a spoiler. It even says it on the back of the book. So, not only was she stubborn, but she succeeded! Not many people get to live out their dreams. I think that’s pretty lucky.
Overall, if I take away anything from this book, it’s hope. Hope that I can achieve all the things I wish for myself if I work hard and press on, even when obstacles appear. While this book was not for me, I’d still recommend it to people looking for memoirs about college-aged characters, or those interested in England and the royal family.