Joanna Compton-Mys's Reviews > Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters

Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
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Mar 17, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2009-partial-list
Read in March, 2009

Clever, clever, clever. This epistolary novel begins with island inhabitants corresponding via mail (note, not via email or telephone) showing their widely varied vocabulary. In fact, the letters in the beginning are almost hard to read because the vocabulary is (I think, at least) deliberately cumbersome, especially in the face of current American colloquialisms. The irony, then, is that the High Council of the sovereign nation of Nollop loses it's marbles when tiles bearing letters of the alphabet in the pangram "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" begin to fall off the monument of the island's namesake and begin banning those letters in speech and text. The result is escalating totalitarianism on the part of the council and the citizen's fights against the growing insanity.

Well written and interesting, this book was both a fast read and very entertaining. I found it very interesting to read the progression of losing a "little used" letter like z (resulting the the burning of the majority if not all the books in the town) to the loss of all but 5 letters of the alphabet. Particularly funny to me was the plight of the schoolteacher, forced to resign when the letter d was banished and she could no longer use the "grammatical unifier" and when teaching seven year olds.

Both a fun book to read for the sheer thought that went into language manipulation as well as the (not veiled in any way shape or form) rampant craziness that total power combined with idolatry creates, I highly recommend this book!

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