Last, but not least: Ella Enchanted.
For some reason, I saved the young adult-ish book for last. Not sure why. It’s still younger than my demographic, but I couldn’t care less about that fact.
The thing is, I’ve loved Ella Enchanted for quite some time, which is interesting because I never really liked the story of Cinderella (at least the Disney version) that much. I mean, who marries someone after just meeting him at a ball? Though I’ll admit that if I were essentially enslaved to my evil stepmother, I would probably jump at the chance to escape, even if it did mean marrying a total stranger.
Still, it never really sat right with me as a kid. So perhaps that explains why, when I read a retelling where the soon-to-be-princess is a hero in her own right, rescuing both herself and her kingdom, I fell in love.
I’ve reread this book probably more than any other I’ve owned, and you can see it in the condition of the poor old thing, despite my efforts to mend it with book tape.
I’m such a huge fan of the imaginative tale, I even purchased it in what Borders called “Read Aloud” size – aka “Giant Size that will be really difficult not to crush your small child with so clearly we didn’t think this one through.” Lately, I’ve been looking into ways for me to illustrate my favorite pages so that they can be framed and grace the walls of my fairytale guest room. I won’t make you look at my sorry first attempts, no worries.
But it’s not just that this whole wonderfully fanciful world sparks my imagination, it’s also about the lesson that Gail Carson Levine teaches to little children. Mostly girls, of course, but it can also apply to all children.
You are stronger than you realize, you just need the right motivation to bring out the best in you.
As previously demonstrated in my post about The Eyre Affair, I do appreciate not only a headstrong lady, but also a witty one. Ella is an excellent example of just such a character.
But more than that, she, just like Matilda and Thursday, is a strong female character who does not require a man to come to the rescue.
To those of you who are like, “Oh, I should read that book. I loved the movie!” Yes, do read it. But realize that the movie is very different from the book … for no good reason, as far as I could tell. But the film is cute in its own right, I will admit. In any case, the book is much deeper and more thought-provoking, so I encourage you all to take that chance. Plus, it’s a fast read, so you’ll be at the end before you know it! I certainly was.
And with that, I finally get to cross off #9.