Monday, October 20, 2014

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine


Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Review by Lauren

Source: library copy; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: At birth, Ella is inadvertently cursed by an imprudent young fairy named Lucinda, who bestows on her the "gift" of obedience. Anything anyone tells her to do, Ella must obey. Another girl might have been cowed by this affliction, but not feisty Ella: "Instead of making me docile, Lucinda's curse made a rebel of me. Or perhaps I was that way naturally." When her beloved mother dies, leaving her in the care of a mostly absent and avaricious father, and later, a loathsome stepmother and two treacherous stepsisters, Ella's life and well-being seem to be in grave peril. But her intelligence and saucy nature keep her in good stead as she sets out on a quest for freedom and self-discovery as she tries to track down Lucinda to undo the curse, fending off ogres, befriending elves, and falling in love with a prince along the way.

Review: I read Ella Enchanted for my children's literature course when we focused on fairy tales. Levine's novel is a different take on the Cinderella story. While there are many similarities between this book and the Cinderella you know from the Disney version, Ella is more feisty and capable of taking care of herself. She does eventually fall for a prince but they do get to know each other beforehand. They see the good and bad within each other.

Ella's circumstances are not fun. She is cursed her whole life with obedience, meaning she must do whatever people tell her to do. Most are not aware of the curse, but when the knowledge enters the wrong hands, it adds even more trouble to Ella's life. More than anything she wants to find Lucinda, the fairy who cursed her, so that she can gain control of her life instead of being pushed around by her absent father and new step-family.

This book is full of magical creatures, curses, fairies, and ultimately, the blessing of true love. Levine has created a version of Cinderella that truly celebrates being true to oneself.

14 comments:

Melliane said...

I haven't read the book but there is a movie right? because the name does ring a bell and if so I watched it.

Medeia Sharif said...

I haven't read this book yet. I believe I have a copy, though.

Kindlemom said...

I like the slight twist with the curse. Looks like this was a fun re-telling.

A Voracious Reader said...

This sounds like one I'd enjoy. Must run and put it on the TBR then check the library. :)

Tracy Terry said...

Whilst for me the jury is still out as to my exact thoughts on these re-tellings this does sound both fun and well done.

Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings said...

I saw the movie way back when and it was fun, but I am sure the book is so much better. I will have to remember it and read it with my daughter in a couple of years.

Keertana said...

OH, both the book and movie version of this are so fantastic. ADORED this as a child. I definitely need to re-read it, though. Great review!(:

Brandi Kosiner said...

The retellings of Cinderella always interst me

cleemckenzie said...

That's an interesting curse. I wouldn't want it at all.

Andrea Thompson said...

I adore this movie and think my daughter would love the book. Thanks for the review, lauren!

Emily @ Forever Literary said...

I read this book ages ago, but I remember enough about it to agree with you 100%. I adored Ella's character - she seemed much more independent, smart, and sensible than Disney's Cinderella. And I loved the fact that the movie was great too. (At least, I enjoyed it when I watched it, also ages ago.) I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed Ella Enchanted, and by the way, your children's literature class sounds wonderful. :)

Candace said...

I don't think I've read this one. I do love the author though!

Ginny Gallagher said...

I haven't read the book but the movie was really cute. Poor Ella and that curse. I made a note to pick this up one day and see how the movie compares to the book. Great review.

Aylee said...

Yayyy Lauren!! This was one of my favourite books from my childhood. I just love it to bits! Reading your review here definitely makes me want to reread it. The movie was awful though.