Ella Enchanted – my very quick book review

April 21, 2009

I had the chance to read the children’s book Ella Enchanted in it’s entirety in just about one sitting yesterday.  (Bridget fell asleep with her head in my lap as I began to read, and I knew how desperately she needed a nap, and feared to move lest she wake.  So, I was stuck on the couch, reading.  It was actually a most pleasant way to spend my Sunday afternoon!)

I really enjoyed the book!  It was an “enrichment” or “expansion” of the Cinderella story.  Ella is a feisty heroine with an ill-conceived gift bestowed on her at birth by a foolish fairy – the gift of Obedience.  Ella must obey any direct command given her.  She doesn’t always do so cheerfully, which endeared her to me because she is so funny and clever, but she is well aware of the dangers of others finding out about this curse.

The dangers become more clear to her as she develops a friendship with the Prince and their friendship grows into love.  Amidst the backdrop of classic fairy-tale elements and the familiar tale of Cinderella,  Ella’s desperate attempts to break the curse given to her by the fairy all result in failure and disappointment.  When the Prince asks her hand in marriage, she is finally able to break the compulsive obedience because she truly loves and is willing to sacrifice her own happiness for the good of her beloved.

There it is – that element of self-sacrifice – that makes all the good stories work. It’s what gives them satisfaction.  This theme is much on my mind in this season, just coming through the celebration of Easter where we ponder Christ’s sacrifice for the beloved.  The Ultimate Fairy Tale come true!

Reading Ella Enchanted has reminded me of the classic George MacDonald story The Light Princess. I think I will put that on the top of the “Read Aloud To My Children” list when we finish our current book.

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