Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn

Title: Ella Minnow Pea
Author: Mark Dunn
Reviewer: Stephanie
Genre: Fiction
Rating: Adore
Alerts/Warnings: Some mentions of corporal punishments towards citizens of the island
Premise: Ella Minnow Pea is a girl living happily on the fictional island of Nollop off the coast of South Carolina. Nollop was named after Nevin Nollop, author of the immortal pangram,* “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” Now Ella finds herself acting to save her friends, family, and fellow citizens from the encroaching totalitarianism of the island’s Council, which has banned the use of certain letters of the alphabet as they fall from a memorial statue of Nevin Nollop. As the letters progressively drop from the statue they also disappear from the novel. The result is both a hilarious and moving story of one girl’s fight for freedom of expression, as well as a linguistic tour de force sure to delight word lovers everywhere. (

Opinions: What an quirky fun idea for a book! I thought it was entertaining and interesting look at what would happen if letters are lost from use. Not only is is interesting to think about would happen if you were no longer allowed to use the letter z or q or a or j. Think of all the words that you can no longer use if you lose even one letter.

I think that this book appealed to me on two levels. 1) It was an interesting look at a totalitian government that is completely ridiculous. However, I find the idea intriguing that there are so few people in the community that see the terribleness of the leaders. I do think that it is a fascinating look at governmental rule and how much power we give our leaders and the trust that we give them to take care of our society.
2) It appeals to me as a lover of words. I love that as the letters disappear from the statue, they disappear from the novel. So that soon it becomes so degraded it becomes hard to say anything.

This is a delightful book that makes you think and ponder language and politics. An interesting combination to be sure, but it makes for a fun read.

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