Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine, is yet another Cinderella story. But this one is not just another blatant copy like the others out there that are supposed to have different “racial overtones” or “cultural differences”. At least this one gives the girl some spine (which, I admit, is not an entirely new concept) and gives her a plot other than “Must. Get. Prince.”‘
Ella Enchanted still has the quintessential Cinderella elements such as the clock strikes midnight and everything goes Poof and the sappy-happy ending. GCL basically took the Cinderella story and added lots of details. This book gets really complicated (for a fifth grade level, that is). But complicated in a good way. You’ll be happy when everything untangles itself. Unfortunately, at the end it borders on copying Cinderella. It seems like the author was bored when she wrote the end.
The characters in Ella Enchanted are very good. Like everything else, the author took the characters in Cinderella: the good girl, the evil stepsisters, the handsome prince- and built on the stereotypes. For instance, the prince is certainly not perfect. And you can feel some sympathy for the stepsisters. Not a lot, of course, but some. Ella is a drastically different character. She is pretty darn spunky and smart too, but that doesn’t mean she can’t be a DID (Damsel In Distress). It is a little strange. She’s fighting off giants and then falling into the prince’s arms.
And now it’s time for…The Rant-A-Thon! Today I will be ranting about the Ella Enchanted movie. The movie is horribly untrue to the book. This is yet another reason why you should always read the book before you watch the movie. (Reason 1: that way you can laugh at the inaccuracies.) For one thing, the book says Ella fights the giants somewhere with her mind power. (Just read the book, okay?) The movie says the prince steps in and kills all the giants. Do NOT watch the movie or…or a ten-pound weight will fall on your head. (I’m running out of good threats.) Okay… rant over.
To recap, Ella Enchanted is yet another Cinderella story, but it’s got some good twists. If you’re a girl kid, you’ll love this. If you’re a boy kid, you might like it. If you’re an adult, fugetaboutit. Go read the Da Vinci Code again.