Monday, November 24, 2008

Book Awards II Challenge: Ella Minnow Pea

Title: Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters
Author: Mark Dunn
Genre: Fiction/Epistolary
Published: October 2002
Pages: 208
Rating: 10 / 10
Challenges: Book Awards II Challenge
Awards: According to Wikipedia, it was selected as Borders' Book of the Year. Yes, that is a stretch, but I'm behind on this challenge and I'm going with it. :)

Synopsis: From the back cover:
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 phrase containing all the letters of the alphabet, "The quick brown fox jumped 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 letter 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 and a linguistic tour de force sure to delight word lovers everywhere.

My Review: This was a very quick, entertaining read. I loved the play on words, even in the title: Ella Minnow Pea is written in an epistolary format, so it truly is "a novel in letters." I loved reading how the incredibly clever Nollopians dealt with the loss of their beloved letters by coming up with new spellings. "Hensephorth" is pretty recognizable; how about "lophlee" or "ephereething"? Throughout the ordeal, they manage to retain their sesquipedantic style of writing. The change within the book is gradual, so it's actually pretty easy to read, as crazy as it looks. All in all, it's a great little book. Will Shortz fans will especially enjoy it, I'm sure.

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book as well, leave me a message in the comments and I'll link to your review.


bkclubcare said...

This sounds delightful and right up my alley - I love the alphabet, letters, etc. Thank you.

Nymeth said...

It does sound wonderful! And also unlike anything I've ever read.

Fyrefly said...

I read this back in February (review here, and I absolutely loved it. I love books where I feel smarter after reading them, if that makes sense.

Veens said...

ok i want i want this book...

i m going to have to have a wish list on my blog... it is absolutely necessary :)

grayskyeyes said...

Yes, this was a quick little book. I loved how clever it made me feel, like I was part of an inside joke the whole time :) Thanks for the link!

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness)