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Friday, September 28, 2007

Ella Enchanted - Gail Carson Levine

I had never read this sweet little story, but after I read the dark Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister for my book club, I was looking into other Cinderella stories, and this title popped up. Did you know Cinderella stories have been told for thousands of years? I didn't. I mean I knew they'd been around for a long time, but thousands of years??

This is a somewhat traditional Cinderella story, with mean stepsisters, a Cinderella figure worked to the bone and covered in ashes, a pumpkin coach, and a handsome prince. But there are differences. One new twist that I really like is Ella has a magical book that I haven't heard of in any other Cinderella stories (tell me if you have). When other people (or elves) look at it, it's pretty much like a regular book. But when Ella looks at it, it will show her people or conversations or letters or whatever, that involve other people in her life. For example, when she gets sent off to finishing school with her nasty wig-wearing stepsisters, she has letters from her best friend the cook, Mandy. Sometimes she sees letter written by those nasty stepsisters to their mother, or letters from their mother to them. It's a bit of a way to spy on them. And she hears from the prince. This books comes in quite handy for Ella.

The story is a little bit different than other versions in that Ella knows the young prince long before the ball and is friends with him...or is it more? She knows him so well that she must hide her face when she goes to the ball. This is actually similar to something that happened in the Confessions tale, although the reasons are a bit different.

And the enchantment of the title is also different from other versions. In this re-telling, Ella HAS to follow any order. It's a "gift" bestowed on her by the not so delightful fairy, Lucinda. Lucinda has a bad habit of bestowing this type of gift, and throughout the story we see her making a mess of many a person's life through her "gifts."

I would definitely recommend this book to readers, and I've heard the movie is good, too, so perhaps a trip to Blockbuster is in my future :)

Happy reading!


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