Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine is an adaptation of the fairy tale, Cinderella. It’s a story about a girl who was given the “gift” of obedience by a fairy named Lucinda. Ella must obey any order given to her, even if it is life-threatening
Over time, Ella has found a way to comply to the order given to her, but not necessarily doing the exact thing she was asked. If asked to sing softer, Ella hardly makes a noise. If Ella decides to not do what ordered, symptoms such as nausea, dizziness and other complaints occur. She can never stop her obedience for longer than a minute. The book is filled with fairy tale creatures: Ogres, giants, elves, princes, and more. Written in Ella’s point of view, the story follows her as she goes on a quest to break the curse.
After her mother’s death, Ella’s father returns home in time to send Ella to a finishing school with two nasty girls named Hattie and Olive. Hattie knows Ella will do whatever she commands (the reason unknown to Hattie), and she uses it to her advantage. Ella doesn’t fit in at the finishing school. She has no friends except for one girl named Areida, whom also doesn’t fit in. Later, Ella finds herself trapped in a dangerous situation.
Ella is a spirited and witty (and clumsy) young lady, of age fifteen. She lives in a manor with her Mother, Mandy the cook, and her father a merchant who is hardly ever home. The only ones who know of the curse is Ella’s mother, Mandy the cook, and Ella herself. Mother ordered Ella never to tell anyone else of the curse.
I’ve read Ella Enchanted probably about ten times now. I love the story because it takes a twist on a classic fairy tale while adding some elements of its own. It will keep you turning pages as you read about the sadness, adventure, and romance in Ella’s life. The author did a great job of rounding out Ella to make her like a real person. You become attached to Ella quickly.
Some of the fairy-tale creatures in the story speak different languages. Not ‘real’ languages like Spanish or French, but languages made up by the author. Most of these languages are jumbled up uppercase and lowercase letters that make it hard to read, making reading aloud an especially hard challenge. (Though I have read it aloud and it is doable, just a little frustrating to stumble over words you have no idea how to pronounce.)
Ella Enchanted is written in a casual way, not using too many big words that would confuse a child. I recommend this book for anyone, of any age, who loves a fairy-tale or who is looking for a fun book to read.
Have you read Ella Enchanted? If you have, what did you think of it? Did you like it? Why or why not? If you haven’t read it before, do you think you will now? 🙂