Not All Books Are a Blessing
In Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, the day Ella was born, she was gifted with one blessing, the gift of obedience. But even with such a blessing, it came with a catch. Whatever someone tells Ella to do, she must do. No matter what the request may be, Ella's blessing, more of a curse, will force her body to do it. That little fact makes it easy for her wicked stepmother and stepsisters to take advantage of her, using her as more of a slave than a family member. Finally fed up with her treatment, Ella sets off on her own adventure to find the fairy that 'blessed" her and revoke the curse.
Ever so often there is a book. A book so mind numbingly boring, so flat it uses the blandest stereotypes in the book to stand up, a book that you would rather burn than read. And yet, despite the obvious flaws and crappiness the book entails everyone seems to love it. For me, that book was Ella Enchanted. If you were wondering why my little plot of the book was so short and bland, that wasn't me being lazy. That is actually the entire plot of the book.
As someone who loves fairy tale retellings, Ella Enchanted is something that surprisingly disappointed me. The book claims to be a female empowerment story, yet Ella, the main character, is a boring character who lets people take advantage of her and spends most of the book mooning over some prince. "But Valkyrie," you may be asking. "The whole story of Ella Enchanted is about Ella wanting to not be controlled!". Sure, Ella may not want to be used like a tool, yet the entire time she just gets used, and used, and used until the very end where the prince helps break the spell. the plot is also boring. Stupid Ella just bumbles around searching for the fairy and gets into trouble until someone helps her out of it. And then at the end there's a ball to celebrate the prince and Ella's eternal love!! yay!!
Why I think this book has a truckload of five star reviews is the fact that this book
was read by a lot of adults when they were kids. Perhaps this book was enough to entertain them as children, and as unwoke children they didn't realize all the problematic things Ella Enchanted has in it. Looking back at it now those people may feel a rush of nostalgia and immediately rate it five stars after reading it 10-something years ago.
I first read Ella Enchanted when I was in third grade. I'm in seventh grade now, so technically I'm still in the age demographic Ella Enchanted is recommended for, but it is far out of my taste. I have in fact read this book recently after spotting it in my school library (which is a HIGH SCHOOL library by the way. It was probably only there because the librarians found it nostalgic.), and it is all stale and slow as I remember it. Actually, when i read it in third grade it was a school assignment. Reading it would've been no big deal if it hadn't of been so awful, so i just didn't read it at all. Instead, I watched the movie. Yes, I know the movie is nothing like the book, but maybe that's a good thing. The movie is funnier, faster, and honestly more empowering than the book is. Save yourself some time and watch the movie.