Friday, October 7, 2011

Ella Minnow Pea

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.

*pangram: a sentence or phrase that includes all the letters of the alphabet

~~complete bliss *sigh* utter contentment~~

That would be my inner word nerd talking. Go ahead, word nerd. Don't be shy. Say hello.


Looks like my inner word nerd has had her say. But if you listen closely, you just might hear purring.

This book made me happy. Hap - hap - happy. I loved everything about it. It is so entertaining and so funny and so ridiculously clever. I wish I could have given it 6 stars on goodreads. It is just my kind of book. But then, I'm obsessed with words. You almost need to read this book with a dictionary and a thesaurus handy. I learned probably 20 new words in the first 2 pages. 

I was thoroughly entertained by both the plot and characters. The whole book is told in letters, which just adds to the hilarity, especially as more and more letters became illegal in Nollop. I've never given any thought to what I would do if I couldn't use a letter of the alphabet. Honestly, Mark Dunn is a genius. It must have taken him forever to write this and get it perfect. As more letters disappeared, grammar became atrocious, new words had to be invented (the new days of the week cracked me up), more random synonyms had to be used, and I just can't tell you anymore without spoiling things. Be prepared, though, to read sections aloud to whoever might be close by as you're reading. And as more letters get dropped off, you almost have to read certain sections aloud to understand them (phonetic spellings abound - particularly in the last fifth or so of the book).

Just know this: if you love words, witty characters, a powerful message against totalitarianism and censure (with plenty of humor to soften the blow), and a delightfully surprising ending, you must read Ella Minnow Pea.

I almost couldn't take it back to the library.

And it's now in the top five of my Christmas book list.

1 comment:

Sonia B said...

I remember really loving that one too. I think I will have to revisit it ;) Thanks for all the suggestions.