“I wished she’d never stop squeezing me. I wished I could spend the rest of my life as a child, being slightly crushed by someone who loved me.”
I started reading Ella Enchanted mostly because I needed to read a fairy tale retelling for my 2015 Bookish Bingo Challenge. (And I didn’t realize I actually already owned a copy of various other retellings to choose from.) Even though I know this is a story ment for the younger under us, I couldn’t say I was impressed by this novel by Gail Carson Levine. I felt the character lacked dept and I couldn’t really connect to them. And I don’t think I would have felt differently if I would have read this as a kid… Ella could have been made way more lifely (and maybe even more stubborn) so the story itself would have more action to it. Her adventures now seemed a bit boring and the other characters didn’t add too much to the story. It shows that this story is based on the original Cinderella story, with references to the evil stepsisters, the prince, the glass slipper, the fairy godmother etc. Still, if I would be honest I think I prefer the original story over this retelling.
Ella was given a ‘gift’ by a fairy when she was born, but that gift turned out to be a curse in disguise… She was given the ‘gift’ of obedience, where she must obey any order that is given to her even if it ends up hurting her. When her mother realizes the magnitude of the problem, she forbids Ella to tell anyone of her secret. Ella is constantly trying to fight against the urge of being obedient, although without success. When her mother dies, Ella is left alone with her absent father and fairy godmother. Her father doesn’t really care about her, and sends her away to finishing school along with two other rather unpleasant girls. The oldest of the two soon finds out about her curse and starts making Ella’s life miserable. One day she has enough and runs away from school in order to find the fairy who gave her the gift of obedience, hoping she will break the curse…
Maybe it was just me, or maybe it was the story. What I know is that I wasn’t really impressed by Ella Enchanted. I guess I was expecting a more lifely main character and more focus on the adventures than on the descriptions and relationships with other characters. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not like I hated it, but I wasn’t blown away with this novel by Gail Carson Levine either. I guess children might enjoy the story better than I did do, so I would still recommend it to the younger readers. But for adults… I’m not so sure.