Ella Minnow Pea By Mark Dunn
Genre: Literary Fiction
Description from Amazon: 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.
My Review: This is a brilliant, fun, quick-read novel. The plot and structure of the book is not like anything I have read before. I love the play on words and how intelligently Mark Dunn is able to craft the story using fewer and fewer letters as the novel progresses. I highly recommend this for a book club read. Be sure to have a dictionary on hand while reading this novel–I guarantee there will be words you’ve never heard before.
A quote from Ella Minnow Pea:
This passage is after the island’s council has banded the letter “Z”:
“Hundreds of words await ostracism from our functional vocabularies: waltz and fizz and squeeze and booze and frozen pizza pie, frizzy and fuzzy and dizzy and duzzy, the visualization of emphyzeema-zapped Tarzans, wheezing and sneezing, holding glazed and anodized bazookas, seized by all the bizarrities of this zany zone we call home. Dazed or zombified citizens who recognize hazardous organizations of zealots in their hazy midst, too late – too late to size down. Immobilized we iz. Minimalized. Paralyzed. Zip Zap. ZZZZZZZZZ.
Did I say crazy?”
And another quote…This quote is from the Island council after the letter “D” is banned:
“Instead of the calendrical terms Monday, Tuesday and so forth, we cheerfully offer the following surrogates. Use them freely and often, for their use honors us all. For Sunday, please use Sunshine. For Monday. pleasy use Monty. For Tuesday, please use Toes. For Wednesday, please use Wetty. For Thursday, please use Thurby. For Friday, please use Fribs. For Saturday, please use Satto-gatto.”
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars!