Friday, May 16, 2008

Ella Enchanted Mini Review

#40 - Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Copyright 1992 Harper Collins YA Fantasy 232 pages

I'm going to borrow from Jenclair and do a 6-word review:

Fairy grants obedience; gift is curse

When Ella's lengthy wail inspires a fairy to give her the gift of obedience at birth, it becomes a painful curse. Rather than simply becoming obedient, Ella must obey any direct instruction given to her. Ella finds ways to delay her obedience, but she can't break the spell and nobody knows where to find the fairy who gave it to her in order for her to beg her to remove the gift that has become such a terrible curse.

Ella Enchanted is a retelling of Cinderella. Eventually, Ella becomes a lowly servant because of the fairy's gift and falls in love with a prince. I think it was a testament to the author's writing skill that it took me quite a while to realize that the book was based on Cinderella, but maybe that just means I'm slow. The book is, however, unique in many ways. Since it was the third Levine book I've read in the past month, I began to see certain patterns from previous books and it didn't spark my imagination or capture me the same way The Two Princesses of Bamarre and Fairest did. Bear in mind that it's very unusual for me to read several books by the same author within a year. I tend to like variety more than consistency, so it's not surprising that I liked the second book a little less than the first and the third a bit less than the second. And, yet, if I reflect on the three stories, I'd still have to say The Two Princesses of Bamarre was the most meaningful and adventurous of the three. Now, I wish I hadn't parted with my copy. Definitely an author worth reading, Ella Enchanted is a Newbery Honor book but not my personal favorite.

Just finished:
Vicksburg and Warren County: A History of People and Place by Pamela Lea Grillis

Walked in the door, today:
The Queen of Sleepy Eye by Patti Hill - Thank you, Brittanie!!!
London Orbital by Iain Sinclair
Quantum Success by Sandra Anne Taylor

Another taste of Norway:

Wishing everyone a lovely, happy, wahooey weekend!

12 comments:

  1. Wasn't there a movie Ella Enchanted? If so, my daughter just watched it a couple of weekends ago. She totally loved it...I had no idea about this book. Bet she'd enjoy this better. :)

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  2. J. Kaye,

    Yes, there's a movie starring Anne Hathaway. I haven't seen it, but I'd like to. I think the book lacks a conflict the movie makers added; after reading the book, I read the back of the video at Border's (but my husband said it sounded totally lame and I should definitely put that one back -- men are so funny). I really like the author and I wouldn't be surprised if your daughter really enjoyed it. :)

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  3. After going to Alaska last fall it made me really want to visit Norway (yes, I know...two totally different places, but even that picture looks just a little like Alaska--well, you've been there...)

    I dragged hubby and my little brother to see Ella Enchanted in the theater a few years ago. I wasn't allowed to choose another movie for a while. :)

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  4. :) Love the 6 word review! Some are easier than others; I've had some that I just couldn't make work.

    My daughter took my granddaughter to see Enchanted and loved it, so I ordered it through Netflix and enjoyed it myself!

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  5. Gorgeous photo! I love the reflection in the water, the blue, the snow on the mountains... :)

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  6. Trish,

    You're right, it does look a lot like Alaska. I will tell you, though, that one of the first things my husband said when he got home was, "I would choose Alaska over Norway, any day." I think that may partly have to do with the expense and the fact that he was stuck on an 8-hour bus ride with a stinky man.

    Okay, hubby's here. He says, "I didn't see much difference, apart from expense." I just asked.

    So, was Ella Enchanted that bad? Maybe it's a good thing my husband wouldn't let me buy the DVD!

    Jenclair,

    The six-word review is fun for a change of pace, but I can see why it wouldn't work for every book. I rearranged that particular 6-word review about a half-dozen times before I was satisfied!

    There's an Enchanted and an Ella Enchanted -- two different movies. Are you referring to the new movie? I've got a copy of Enchanted, which I bought for entertainment while in Oklahoma. It's funny but I cried all the way through it. I must have been having a sensitive day. LOL

    Nat,

    Isn't that reflection awesome? David took several similar photos and they're all beautiful. The water is as smooth as glass.

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  7. 6-word review . . hmmm. I'll have to try that although it will be really hard for me. I just received my mooch of this book but I may have to wait for another fairy tale challenge to read it.

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  8. Have you been to Norway?
    I live here, and love my country:-)

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  9. That's interesting. Ella Enchanted was the first Levine book I read, and it remains my favorite. I read two or three others, and didn't like them nearly as well. By the time I got to Princesses of Bamarre I was, well, bored. Perhaps because they all feel so similar?

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  10. Framed,

    This particular book wasn't too difficult to review in 6 words, but I really didn't feel like I had much to say about it. It appears I've grown weary of the author. It's a good book though. I hope you enjoy it when the next fairy tale challenge rolls around. :)

    Britt-Arnhild,

    No, unfortunately, I haven't made it to Norway. My husband was just there about 2 weeks ago and he thought your country was beautiful. I'm the one who drops him off at the airport and waves. Personally, I'm fond of any country that has mountains, so I'd go to Norway in a heartbeat. :)

    Jeane,

    I went to Amazon to read reviews and I think you've hit on it. Everyone seems to like the first Levine book they read best. They do begin to sound a lot alike, after a time.

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  11. Hannah and I saw Ella Enchanted a while back and we both loved it. Such a great meaning and wonderful message especially for young girls, I think.
    GORGEOUS picture of the the mountains and water - so serene and peaceful!!

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  12. April,

    I think all of Levine's books have good themes for girls. I've got to see the movie, some time.

    Isn't Norway beautiful? So envious of the husband.

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