Ella Enchanted
Gail Carson Levine

I feel like I’m starting to turn into A Real Librarian who keeps posting about famous movies she’s never seen. Only for me it’s Famous Children’s Books the Hedgehog is Just Finally Reading.

I had brought home Ella Enchanted during one of my fits of “I should just catch up on everything” and it had been lounging around the living room while I worked up the energy to read it. I have a lot more ideas about what I’ll get done during the day in the evening and vice versa.

Ella is “blessed” at birth with the gift of being obedient–to everyone. She cannot disobey a direct order. Thus the story begins. Her mother orders her never to speak of it–so it’s not a widely known curse. After her mother dies, Ella spends this coming of age story trying to find a way to break the truly miserable “gift.”

Levine writes a rollicking tale that’s full of laughter. Ella is slightly cynical about her curse but full of humor and the ingenuity of a young girl trying to overcome it. No boring heroine, Ella is constantly trying to find a way to break the curse. Her adventures see her kidnapped by ogres and attending a giants wedding.

Over the course of the book Levine sneaks in the usual requirements for a Cinderella adaptation–wicked stepsisters, an evil stepmother, and a handsome prince. There’s a fairy godmother who is able to help but can’t lift the curse. And in the end, it’s Ella’s own ingenuity that wins the day.

It’s a relatively quick read and very enjoyable even for adults. Recommended especially if you enjoyed Ever After.