Most readers will have that one book, or series of books that has changed their life in one way or another. For me, that is Ella Enchanted. Ella Enchanted, written by Gail Carson Levine in 1998 is a wonderful story. It’s an adaptation of the classic Cinderella story, which is what drew me to it in the first place. Ella, is a girl who when she was born was given a “blessing” by a fairy. This blessing was the gift of obedience. If someone asks her to do something, she must do it. Her mother dies, her father remarries and she gains two step sisters. I won’t give any more, since it’s quite magical to experience for the first time.
My first time with this enchanting book was when I was 11. Right when it came out! I was helping at my school’s book fair, during lunches I would be inside organizing the books for the librarian. At the end of the book fair, all the helpers were allowed to pick one book to take home. I selected Ella Enchanted. The first time I read it, I think I flew through it! I had always been an avid reader, and this was no exception. It drew me in.
I think I have read this book at least 20 times in the last 17 years. I’ve owned three different copies. My first, I loaned to a friend in grade 8 – right after we moved to Kitchener. She was an exchange student from Mexico. When the school year ended, sending her back to Mexico, my book went with her. My second I took to Korea with me, and gave to one of the Korean teachers in my Hogwan to read. She got into an accident and lost it, so she replaced it. That is the copy that I now have, some where in my piles and piles of boxes. When I left Korea, I also gave all the girls in my one class a copy of it (the boys a copy of “The Giver”).
There is just something so magical about this book. It brings the reader in, and evokes your imagination to explore the words you are reading. The descriptions in the book come to life in my mind’s eye. As a young girl, it gave me hope and courage to face what small problems I was having. It gave me confidence to stand up for what I wanted out of life, and not to be a pawn for others.
If there is one thing that I can’t stand about Ella Enchanted, it’s something that the author had no control over (that I know of at least) – the movie. The movie was HORRENDOUS! It actually started my loathing of Anne Hathaway’s acting. The script completely destroyed the book. I’m not sure if Ms. Hathaway ever actually read the book, but if she did I don’t know why she would agree to make such a monstrosity. It came out in 2004, and I didn’t watch it until 2011. I had just finished reading the new copy I was given in Korea and decided to take the plunge. I had been denouncing the movie as utter heresy since it had come out, but I like to back up my ideas with fact so I broke down and watched it. So now I can say with the utmost certainty: It is crap. Complete crap. A waste of time and energy to watch. DON’T DO IT! If you must, read the book then watch the movie just to mock it.