Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A book review, of sorts

Well, after taking another break from posting here, it occurs to me that my lack of discipline centers on the fact that my biggest critic is gone. Alas, one adjusts to these things....

A little tribute to Vic, via the weirdest angle, comes from a little scene in The Lake House. Sandra Bullock's character is having lunch with her mother, and she notices that her mom is reading some old book (perhaps Pride and Prejudice? I think the reason I see that book everywhere is that somehow, as an English major, I have managed never to have read it. Go figure). Anyway, the mother explains that she reads books that her dead husband enjoyed, and somehow it brings her closer to him. OK, I thought it was sweet and sentimental in the movie, but you know, one of those scenes that initially contributes nothing to the story, and then looms in your own mind much later.

So I find myself straightening up some of the secret spots where Vic has hidden things (there's a threat looming in the air that a massive clean up may be under way with no warning) and I found one of her favorite books, Ella Enchanted. It's yet another version of the Cinderella fairy tale. For years I've seen her read and reread the book, but I've never been interested in reading it. When the movie came out last year, we bought it, and she became immediately disenchanted with it (heh-heh, I'm so punny).

Evidently in that most heinous of Hollywood acts, they changed the story to suit their marketing needs. Oh well. I liked the movie, so instead of packing the book away in a box, I sat down to read it. It is delightful! I loved this version of the fairy tale much more than the original story. Perhaps that's not saying a lot, because I adore the movie with Drew Barrymore, Ever After, and also liked Gregory Maguire's Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister. I guess what I really enjoy is the variation on a theme.

I can see why Vicky likes the story. It's not as sophisticated as Ever After, or as clever as Ugly Stepsister, but I can see why she finds the story so appealing. It's a simple case of love triumphing over adversity. You can't beat a happy ending. Perhaps she's felt a bit like Ella. Maybe she has a fairy godmother that I've somehow missed. Hmmm. At any rate, it's a sweet book, and one I'd recommend for little girls, and big girls.

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