Monday, November 23, 2009

73. Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn

A reread from last year so I'm just going to post my review from before, but I found this at a used book store this weekend in Chicago (since I had checked the book out from the library before, I thought I'd like to have a copy of my own) and gave it a quick read on the train ride home.

#73

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Title: Ella Minnow Pea
Author: Mark Dunn
Copyright: 2001
Pages: 205
ISBN: 9780385722438
Publisher: Anchor Books
Format: Paperback
Rating: 5/5 stars
Finished: 11-22-09

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.

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

This was just a plain fun little book to read! What would happen if the use of certain letters of the alphabet was systematically forbidden? What would you do?

Ella Minnow Pea lives on the fictional island of Nollop, an independent country off the coast of South Carolina. Nollop is so named after Nevin Nollop, creator of the pangram "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." When a letter falls from the monument to Nollop, the ruling council determines that this is Nollopian divine intervention and that the fallen letter must be stricken from use, both verbally and literally. As more and more letters fall, all Nollopians must learn to cope with the increasingly difficult task of making sure that they neither speak nor write words that include these letters.

The book is told through correspondence between the people who live on Nollop, and Mark Dunn is genuinely quite clever in how he presents these letters as the Nollopians lose the rights to use one letter after another. I can honestly say that I had a fun time with trying to work out not only the new ways that the Nollopians found to speak, but also the solution to their problem. This wasn't a particularly challenging book to read, but it was a lot of fun and well worth the time. Give it a read sometime if you're looking for something amusing, clever and completely escapist.

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