I feel like most women and girls have probably read Ella Enchanted. For those of you who haven't, you should. It's a great example of a strong, smart female lead. It's based on Cinderella, but the twist is fun.
In Ella Enchanted, we have Ella of Frell. She was cursed by a well-meaning fairy at birth to be obedient. She has to obey every command given to her. This may seem innocent enough, but she has to do everything anyone tells her to do. It could be something as innocent as having to jump on one leg for days or something as malicious harming herself and other people. She has a mother and a fairy godmother who protect her at first, but her mother dies when she is young, and her father remarries a troll. Not an actual troll, mind you, just a terrible person. She sends Ella off to finishing school with her equally trollish daughters, and that's where things really start to happen.
I don't think I can fully imbue a blog post with the whimsy and magic of this book. I've given you some of the bare facts, but they don’t do it justice. This is technically a children’s book, and I first read it as a child. I have since read it several times. One thing I love about it is that Ella understands that - because of her curse - she can’t make normal decisions. She has to think things through, and she does. She’s clever, and she saves everyone - including herself.
Some of you may have seen the 2004 film of the same name starring Anne Hathaway. I prefer to pretend that it doesn’t exist. People always say “the book was better,” but in this case, the two can’t even compare. The movie doesn’t follow the book at all. The only similarities are Ella’s curse and the character names. Do not let it keep you from reading the book.
Ella Enchanted is magical and gives a great spin on Cinderella. It also teaches that decisions matter. We may not be cursed in the way Ella is, but our choices do have consequences, and we would do well to remember that. There is also a wonderful prince who is probably one of my favorite literary males. He is so sweet and so kind and so good. I cannot recommend this book enough for girls ages 8-108.