Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ella Minnow Pea

Book:  Ella Minnow Pea
Author:  Mark Dunn
Like/Don't Like:  Liked.  Clever.

Most of the time it's the story that carries a book.  Sometimes it's the characters.  This book is carried almost entirely by the style.  Normally I would roll my eyes at this but it was so well done that I didn't mind it at all.

The story is told through letters about a fictional island nation off the southeastern coast of America that was founded by the (made up) originator of the sentence, "The quick red fox jumped over the lazy brown dog."   In the center of town is a monument to the man with the sentence underneath, each letter having it's own tile.  When one tile falls off the island council determines it's a sign from the man that they should stop using that letter, and attache punishments for people who use it.  This proceeds until nearly all the letters have fallen.

Since the story is told through letters between several people, all under the restriction of not using certain letters, the writing becomes pretty creative.  You'll need a dictionary. 

While it was clever and pretty fun to read there were some drawbacks.  The story and characters are lacking.  Most of the emphasis is put on the language so you miss out on back story, character development, important things that generally make a book worth reading.  Which is why I found it so successful.  Once I got into it those usually essential items became secondary to the fun of just reading along.

1 comment:

trashmaster46 said...

I've been meaning to find this at the library for sometime. Thanks for the reminder!