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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
2,9802142,844 (3.89)405
  1. 30
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  4. 00
    The ACB with Honora Lee by Kate De Goldi (GirlMisanthrope)
    GirlMisanthrope: Short sweet charming book , featuring the alphabet
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  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. 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.
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    The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (Yells)

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» See also 405 mentions

English (214)  Dutch (1)  All languages (215)
Showing 1-5 of 214 (next | show all)
This story is about a young girl named Ella Minnow Pea. She lives on an island called Nollop - off the coast of the United States. According to the people there, the founder - Nevin Nollop - came up with the saying: "A quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" - a sentence we all know from our childhood that contains every letter of the alphabet. The saying is on individual letter tiles in town - in front of a statue of Nollop. One day the letter z tile falls off the sign and breaks. A little girl picks up the pieces and takes it to the town council. The council sees this as a sign from Nollop that the towns people can no longer use the letter z in any letters, books, talking, etc. The towns people - on the whole -think this is crazy, but decide to go along with the council. If they don't they first get a warning. 2nd they get a lashing or put in the wood stocks in town, and 3rd - banished from the island. Soon more and more tiles are falling off the sign and each time, those letters are banished from use by the towns people. A lot of people start leaving the island - some voluntarily - some not due to accidental use of those letters. One girl - Ella - and a man from American - Nate - talk to the council and try to tell them that it is just old glue, not Nollop himself, that is making the tiles fall off. The don't believe it, but do agree that if Nate and Ella can come up with a NEW sentence with 32 letters in it (all alphabet letters) then they will reverse the restricted use of letters on the island.

Will the sentence get made before all the tiles fall off and no letters are left to be used?

This book was short and really cute. It became funnier and funnier to see the towns people try to figure out how to write letters to each other without the use of certain letters. The even took to renaming the days of the week and months of the year.

It could be viewed as a symbol of what it would be like if a small few controlled the many. Hmmmmm.....sound familiar?

Take a look at this book. IT is well worth a read! ( )
  JenMat | Jan 10, 2019 |
An isolated community that reveres Nevin Nollop, the (fictionalized) creator of the quick brown fox pangram, starts imposing strict control of which letters of the alphabet can be used in communication when they start falling off the plaque on Nollop's statue. As an epistolary novel, this creates an increasingly strict, and increasingly fascinating, lipogram of a text. The escalation of stakes & increasingly grim consequences in the last third were shocking, but not deeply explored. Then again, without language to express it, how could it be explored? I think I want a sequel about the islanders dealing with their inevitable PTSD. ( )
  epaulettes | Jan 3, 2019 |
A fun read that was probably even more fun and challenging to write! Those who think the story is silly or that it doesn't measure up to other books that warn of the dangers of authoritarianism are missing the point. This book makes a game of words, the story is just the device that sets the scene for the game. If you enjoy vocabulary or thinking about language, you should enjoy this one. ( )
1 vote 3njennn | Nov 25, 2018 |
That was the most delightful reading experience I've ever had the joy to realize.

Yeah, this shit is hard. ( )
  Monica_P | Nov 22, 2018 |
I read this in one sitting this morning. It's a charming story and a clever use of language. I can't wait to buy myself a copy and read it again. ( )
  kateschmidt | Oct 20, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 214 (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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Haiku summary
Letters about a
Sign with letters that fall off.
Let her freedom ring.

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385722435, Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:33 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The language-loving inhabitants of a South Carolina island interpret the falling of the letter "Z" from a beloved monument as a divine warning not to use the letter any longer. But catastrophe is imminent when the other letters in the monument--which contains the entire alphabet--begin falling one by one.… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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