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Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark…

Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters (2001)

by Mark Dunn

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,0842182,984 (3.89)410
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.… (more)
  1. 21
    Tepper Isn't Going Out: A Novel by Calvin Trillin (amysisson)
    amysisson: Both are deceptively simple stories that highlight absurdity in human behavior.
  2. 10
    The Wonderful O by James Thurber (SylviaC)
    SylviaC: Both stories use a light touch to look at language and censorship.
  3. 00
    The ACB with Honora Lee by Kate De Goldi (GirlMisanthrope)
    GirlMisanthrope: Short sweet charming book , featuring the alphabet
  4. 00
    Just a Couple of Days by Tony Vigorito (sturlington)
    sturlington: Breakdown of language
  5. 00
    The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips (4leschats)
    4leschats: Similar aspects of word play demonstrate how the abstract nature of language creates, alters, and describes our concrete experiences.
  6. 11
    Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie (bookwoman247)
    bookwoman247: Word play and language are an intregal part of both books. Ella Minnow Pea is a bit more sophisticated, but for adults or teens who enjoyed Haroun and the Sea of Stories, I think they will also find Ella Minnow Pea very enjoyable.
  7. 01
    The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (Yells)
  8. 12
    Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (Runa)

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» See also 410 mentions

English (218)  Dutch (1)  All languages (219)
Showing 1-5 of 218 (next | show all)
The work that the author put into this novel is brilliant, which makes this for a great read. The storyline and characters are not anything to write home about, but it's worth the read to see the writing devolve one letter at a time. ( )
  ChelseaMcE | Mar 19, 2020 |
I have never left a book review before, but I feel the need to for this book. Possible minor spoilers ahead.

Put simply, this is quite possibly my new favourite book of all time. I read it in a single sitting (it's a fairly easy read), and I was totally engrossed the entire time.

As a lover of language and linguistics, its simple premise was enticing and entertaining for me, whilst the heartbreak and humor tugged at the more empathetic parts of me. Watching how the months and days changed at the top of the pages was very interesting, and the changes in orthography throughout the latter half of the book were equally intriguing. On a few occasions I actually had to read words out loud to myself to see what they were meant to represent, which felt immersive, causing me to share in the citizens of Nollop's plight.

I think that Dunn picked the perfect medium to tell this tale. It definitely would not have worked as traditional prose, and I loved the letter format. However, this means that the last three books I have read have not been traditional prose, so I definitely need to get back to that for a bit.

I will definitely be revisiting this book at some point, but for now I must close by recommending it to literally everyone. ( )
  Bran_Pap | Dec 5, 2019 |
Really more of a 3.5, but I found the concept interesting (and well executed) so .5.

I happened upon this book when looking for something Jasper Fforde-ish. I love his humor and always look forward to his stuff, but there's not another Fforde book out for a tad and I needed something fun now. This wasn't as fun as a Jasper Fforde and the first quarter of the book felt a little forced to me, but it evened out as the plot progressed.

I also had some confusion differentiating between the voices of the characters in some of the letters (and remembering a couple of the lesser characters), but these seem to be issues many epistolary novels have and this wasn't the worst offender I've read by far. Overall, it was an enjoyable little story. Can't say I'd recommend it to my husband (too cute), but my mom might find it amusing.
( )
  Aug3Zimm | Nov 12, 2019 |
I loved this book! It has intriged me for a while to think about having something like what happened in this book. What would happen if we lost our power to communicate through written and verbal word and this book fulfilled that scenario for me!

It was quite a great way to tell a story through letters something that is being dropped as an art form because of computers and texting on cell phones.

I must start writing with my natural hand more to those I wish to communicate with! ( )
  SandraBrower | Oct 27, 2019 |
Very interesting little book. I really enjoyed the concept until about 3/4 through when it became increasingly difficult to read. Smartly written. I was surprised it was written by a man; the format seems like a feminine style but it definitely worked. I liked it! ( )
  LizBurkhart | Sep 5, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 218 (next | show all)
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In the beginning was the Word.

- Gospel of John, Chapter 1, Verse 1
The wicked peon quivered,

then gazed balefully at the judges

who examined him.

- Anonymous Typesetter
For Mary
First words
Nollopton. Sunday, July 23. Dear Cousin Tassie, Thank you for the lovely postcards.
For the present, it is easier for us to turn away. Our repulsion, you see, will not spur us to revolt until this plague moves much closer to home.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Haiku summary
Letters about a
Sign with letters that fall off.
Let her freedom ring.

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Average: (3.89)
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