YA literature has some interesting idiosyncrasies. Most school assignments and “traditional” classics are quite old, having been written in the first half of the 1900s. Yet, YA lit didn’t really find its legs and grow to massive proportions until the past decade. This arrangement leaves many “in-betweeners,” basically books that are not old enough to be traditional classics but not new enough to be modern ones. I have long considered a large portion of these books from the 1980s and 1990s to be the unsung heroes of YA literature. They can be great books on their own and deserve a little bump in publicity.
Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted is one of her most popular books. It was written in 1997, just on the cusp of the YA boom. Many fairy tale re-tellings and twists were a beloved tradition in the 1990s and Ella Enchanted is considered to be one of the best. The story brings Cinderella to a whole new level and supports the idea of being independent and choosing your own fate despite the world and even part of yourself claiming that your destiny is already set. This primary theme resounds with many teens and many adults who love the flow and beauty found in YA literature.
The fact that the novel was written so close to the spread in the merits of YA led to it eventually becoming a movie. While YA Awesomesauce is not really a movie review site, I have to give my opinion on the film in case anyone decides to watch it due to this post. The movie as its own movie and story is actually pretty cute. It is a nice whimsical fairy tale with plenty of coming of age themes, an innocent love story, and magic. THAT BEING SAID…it is a terrible book-to-movie conversion. The heart of the book is about standing up for yourself and forging your own path. The movie seems to miss these points or hide them beneath silly but pleasant puns. If you really wish to watch the movie following the book, just think of it as its own movie and do not compare it to its literary namesake.
Bring It to Life (BITL)!
Make Ella’s necklace.
One of the most beautiful objects included in Ella Enchanted is the gnome-made necklace given to her by her mother Lady Eleanor. It is a long established family heirloom and acts as a link between Ella and her mother once Lady Eleanor dies. The necklace is not exactly described in detail though. The primary specific passage that details this necklace is “Threads of silver ended almost at my waist in a woven pattern of silver studded with tiny pearls.”
This openness in interpretation means that making your own Ella necklace is more a process of accessing your own imagination and skill set. The following is a general guideline that can help start the process and shows what I recommend for the craft.
What you will need:
- Silver embroidery thread or a silver necklace chain
- Pearls with holes big enough for the thread and the help of a needle or pearl charms for the chain
What to do:
Using silver embroidery thread will really help in creating the woven pattern that is described. A woven chain can be made with the creation of a simple braid that then will require a separate thread to weave the pearls into the braid at incremental patterns.
The chain options might be simpler for those who cannot weave or braid. Merely slide the pearls onto the chain and hold them into place with fitted silver pieces. Pearl charms that already have a small silver loop at the top could even be used at intervals along the chain to dangle off of it.
Here are a few design ideas to help you out!