Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn

Publication: August 2010
Length: 226 pages
My Source: borrowed from the library
My Rating: ****--4 Stars
Blurb: An progressively lipogrammatic epistolary fabel set on a fictional island off the South Carolina coastline. Ella Minnow Pea brings readers to the hometown of Nevin Nollop, inventor of the pangram “The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over the Lazy Dog.” Deified for his achievement in life, Nevin has been honored in death with a monument featuring his famous phrase. One day, however, the letter Z falls from the monument, and some of the islanders interpret the missing tile as a message from beyond the grave. The letter Z is banned from use. On an island where the residents pride themselves on their love of language, this is seen as a tragedy. They are still reeling from the shock when another tile falls. And then another...
In his charming debut, first published in 2001, Mark Dunn took readers on a journey through the eyes of Ella Minnow Pea, a young woman forced to create another clever turn of phrase in order to save the islanders’ beloved language.
My Review: A fictional island loses a tile from their sentence and therefore, starts eliminating letters of the alphabet. Anyone caught using the forbidden letters was banished.

I thought this story was very creative. Of course, it wouldn't ever really happen...would it? Since I have a weird brain, it was easy for me to become obsessed about it--how would I word this or that if I couldn't use certain letters? By the end, I found it fascinating how they adapted their spelling to get a point across. For book club, we were challenged to come up with a sentence. Ah!! I can't get one small enough and the ones I do manage to get pretty small end up missing a letter or two. This is much more difficult to do than I thought. There were some pretty big words in there and I had to look a few things up.

Told all in letter format (letters to various people sent back and forth), it was a fun, easy read that wasn't deep, but still made me think.

Content: clean.

Grab your own copy on amazon .

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