Ella Minnow Pea


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.

The Phoenix’s Perspective

I must admit that the title is what drew me to the book. I wasn’t even sure if it was my kind of book, but there is something about a book whose title sounds like those 5 letters of the alphabet that always roll of the tongue. I didn’t know what I was going into when I began reading the book.

It can become a quick read due to the fact that it is written in epistolary form. Each letter takes up no more than 2 pages, but somehow manages to give so much information. For some readers, epistolary form can be boring.  However, Dunn manages to keep the story flowing by creating letters to and from different people while still developing several important characters.

The language of the book may frighten some readers, but it is just as important as the main characters themselves to the development of the story. As each tile falls, language becomes more and more difficult while basic at the same time. Ella Minnow Pea herself describes the state of language as close to primitive that is forcing the town to become more like primates than intelligent humans.

As much as I have focused above on the importance of language to Ella Minnow Pea. Ella shows us how essential it is to work together and not give up. She also helps us understand how, even if by happenstance, the answers we seek can come from any person at any time.

The last letter in the book proves how much we really underestimate ourselves and what we are capable of.

Would I add it to the library?

Yes!  Not only would I add it, but I would definitely recommend it not just to book lovers, but also to anyone looking for an amusing look at the world without the use of language as we know it.


Genre: Fiction
ISBN: 9780385722438
Rating: absolutely awesome

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