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A Traveller in Time by Alison Uttley
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Ella Enchanted: 04/23/08

Ella Enchanted

My husband has been wanting me to read Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine now for about four years and I've been blowing him off. To make things right, I decided to read the book as my first selection for this year's Spring Reading Thing. Neither of us have seen the film so I won't be comparing the two.

As can be expected from the title, Ella Enchanted is based on the Cinderella fairy tale. In this version, Ella is short for Eleanor. The hook to this retelling is that Ella has been blessed (or cursed) with the gift of obedience. She must follow all direct orders even if they might cause her harm or cause her to harm others. While all the key points of the fairy tale are there the story is really Ella's quest to break the curse.

The book is roughly divided into four parts: childhood, school, remarriage and the ball. The remarriage of Ella's father is the part where novel gets forced back on track with the fairy tale. The change in tone is jarring and frustrating. By the ball the book stops playing connect the dots and goes back to telling a good story that only bears a passing resemblance to the fairy tale.

What I liked best about Ella Enchanted was the inclusion of all the different languages and cultures (both for humans and non-humans). I liked how the novel explained the ever absent father from the fairy tale without making him evil or impotent. I also liked the ongoing friendship between Ella and Char so that his decision to seek her hand in marriage after the ball was based on more than just a dropped shoe and a nice dance.

Having now read and more or less enjoyed the novel I think I'll have to rent the film one of these days.

Comments (14)

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Comment #1: Thursday, April, 24, 2008 at 09:23:51


Hi! Thank you for stopping by my blog for Thursday 13. In our opinion (my teen girls and I) Ella Enchanted is one of Gail Carson Levine's better books. She really had a story to tell here. Some of her other books are an embarrassment. :("

Comment #2: Thursday, April, 24, 2008 at 11:06:28

marcia vigil

My Daughter and i both love Ella Enchanted and the Movie while cute does not even come close to doing justice to the wonderful story"

Comment #3: Thursday, April, 24, 2008 at 12:12:59


I haven't read the book yet, but I did get a chance to see the movie. I won't give it away. :)

Renee "

Comment #4: Thursday, April, 24, 2008 at 10:54:10


What could there be to possibly give away?"

Comment #5: Thursday, April, 24, 2008 at 21:15:18


The book sounds like a good read. The film was heavily focused on humour (and seemed to want to appeal to Shrek fans), and was enjoyable in its own right, but I'd like to discover the "original" based on your review."

Comment #6: Thursday, April, 24, 2008 at 18:49:28


I can see why they'd want to go for a Shrekish movie; the book does have ogres and Ella is able to handle them just as well Fiona can handle Shrek."

Comment #7: Thursday, April, 24, 2008 at 22:29:19


I saw a little bit of the movie a few weeks ago and it was pretty cute. I didn't know that it was based on a book, so I might check it out."

Comment #8: Thursday, April, 24, 2008 at 19:49:18


It's a good but slightly flawed book."

Comment #9: Friday, April, 25, 2008 at 11:49:27

Kate Davis

Glad you enjoyed this book. My husband bought it for me a few years ago for Christmas and I completed it in the day and have read it at least once more since then. I also enjoy the film although the story is different to the book."

Comment #10: Saturday, April, 26, 2008 at 10:07:23

Natasha @ Maw Books

I just picked this book up from a used library book sale. I haven't seen the movie. I hope to be able to read it really soon!"


Comment #11: Saturday, April, 26, 2008 at 13:24:32


I've heard some great things about this book so I recently mooched it. It sounds like a fun read."

Comment #12: Saturday, April, 26, 2008 at 19:15:28


Enjoy the book!"

Comment #13: Saturday, April, 26, 2008 at 18:09:01


Our family liked the book. Then we watched the movie and were disappointed. They changed the story so much it was almost unrecognizable."

Comment #14: Saturday, April, 26, 2008 at 15:23:03


I'm expecting it to be very different. That's just the nature of film. Thanks for your comment."

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