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Ella Minnow Pea

Book: Ella Minnow Pea

Author: Mark Dunn

Short Summary:
The residents of the island of Nollop enjoy a pleasant life full of happiness and literary abundance until one fateful day when the letter “Z” fell from the statue in honor of the island’s namesake, Nevin Nollop. Nollop authored the pangram “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” Soon the letter “Z” is banned by the island’s council and it’s use in speech or writing is forbidden. As letters continue to fall, they continue to be abandoned by the people of Nollop. Determined to change the island from turning into a totalitarian state, Ella Minnow Pea, with the help of other residents, looks for a way to change the situation and get all the letters back into use.

My Thoughts:
This epistolary novel was brilliant. It had all the wit, humor, and wordplay one could want. As the letters drop from the statue the people of Nollop can no longer use them in the letters they write to each other. I loved the farewell they did to several of the letters. It must have been quite a task for Dunn to deliberately eliminate letters from words as the novel progressed.

While the wordplay in this book is fascinating, there are so many other great components to this story. The idea of censorship is a theme throughout. The council censored the residents spoken and written words, but they could not censor their thoughts or ideas. I loved that the people fought for their freedom of speech and literary freedom. This novel also showed the dangers of a Totalitarian state and how much people suffer when their voices are not heard and they are silenced. Religion and a higher being comes into play as well. The council believed that it was Nollop’s will that the people stop using the letters and that he was the all mighty being. While some people of Nollop went along with this willingly, others stood up for their own beliefs and fought back.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves words! It makes you appreciate the alphabet and each letter in a whole new way. It also brings to light many great topics for discussion in a book group. This is a quick read and one you won’t regret!

My Rating:4.25/5 stars


5 Responses

  1. This premise of this book intrigues me! I’ll have to keep an eye out for it 🙂

  2. Glad to see that you liked it! I got a copy recently via paperbackswap, now I just need to find some time to read it. 🙂

  3. What a creative concept!

  4. This is one of my all-time favorite books. Glad you enjoyed it, too!

  5. I have a copy of this – every review I see makes me want to pick it up even more! I’m going to have to try to squeeze it in next month.

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