Saturday, July 5

"Ella Minnow Pea" - Mark Dunn

"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."
I can't quite remember how I stumbled upon this book. I think it may have been a popular one on BookMooch, and I heard about it from there. But it doesn't really matter how I found it - I did, and thanks to a Borders voucher, got 20% off, paying only $10.30 for this book! Bargain!
Thankfully, it was one of my better purchases. However strange this sounds, I don't often go out and buy books if I've never read the book or the author before. I always try and secure 'unknown' books through other means, whether it's the library or BookMooch or borrowing from friends. I hate the moment you realise that you've spent some of your hard-earned money on something you don't like, and that it was a waste (makes me feel cheated somehow). So I'm usually a very careful buyer.
This was a refreshing exception and I enjoyed this novel very much (only problem is it was over too soon!) It was incredibly clever, witty, imaginative and creative, while also telling a story with a decent plot at the same time. It was also quite amusing at times with occasional completely random comments thrown in to the letters between island inhabitants ("I got lime gelatin!"). Upon reading this book I couldn't help but marvel at the author's broad knowledge and mastery of the English language, who almost effortlessly (it seems) continued the tale even after being denied certain letters (it got interesting when 'D' was forbidden...and again when 'U' went).
I'm glad I picked this up. It's the most unique book I've read in a long time. 5 STARS

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