Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Week One: Ella Minnow Pea

Week One

Ella Minnow Pea

Author: Mark Dunn

Pages: 224


"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." from Amazon


After initially thinking that I wanted to do a super long review on each book that I read during this challenge, I'm going to decline that route and make this short, sweet, and to the point.

I loved this book. I realized while reading it that not only did I love it because of the format (I'm a fan of most epistolary novels anyway, just because I hate to dig through boring back story and the letter format makes it seem more genuine), I loved this because the entire book just seemed so . . . clever. There are authors that write such beautiful prose but the total work is still a bore. There are also authors that write compelling stories, but their writing is abysmal (i.e. Twilight). Mark Dunn seems to have accomplished both lovely word-smithing (that's probably not a word) and good story-crafting (also not a word).

While this wasn't one of those books that you simply can't put down, it was a truly fun read and I really, really liked the process of each letter dropping out of the novel. By the end of the book, while you are still wrapped up in the story, most of you is sitting there in awe of how the author is still telling a coherent and engaging tale without using three quarters of the alphabet.

The Unsinkable's Final Rating: I heartily recommend this book for anyone that enjoys clever literary devices and light political satire.

Next Up: The Year of Living Biblically


Cat said...

Yea for good books!

Is there a rule in this contest that says once you commit to one you can't abandon it? Hopefully all that we choose will be wonderful, but I suspect out of 52 there will be at least one or two that are positively dreadful and I'll have to mentally prepare myself to slog through them if necessary. :-)

chereemoore said...

Interesting book. I am adding it to my list. I read The Year of Living Biblically a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it!

Tiffany said...

So glad you enjoyed it and I LOVE that you're offering rad little reviews like this!

Alice@Supratentorial said...

I finally read this book last year after thinking it would be too cutesy for years. But I also loved it. I think you are dead on when you describe it as fun.

I also liked The Year of Living Biblically. There are things about him that annoyed me and things that I thought were really intriguing but he is a very good writer so it made for a good read regardless.