I’ve spent a lot of time on Pinterest lately (first for wedding stuff, and now for Animal Crossing: New Horizons inspiration), and I came across a post about Ella Minnow Pea, thought it looked interest, and snagged a cheap copy off ThriftBooks.
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 phrase containing all the letters of the alphabet, “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 premise sounded interesting to me, and so I settled into the book without knowing what all was coming.
This is going to be a short FIF because the book itself is so short, and I don’t want to read too much into it before writing this.
I’m catching myself searching the author’s letters for the use of the banned letters, and being amazed at how effortless he’s able to make it seem, but I know this book probably took a ton of editing time to make sure everything flowed properly and worked the way it should.
It’s also interesting how formal the writing style seems, and even one of the characters mentions this when she talks about the residents of Nollop fleeing to the United States to escape the brutality of the council (seriously – the punishment for using the banned letters is no joke!), saying how her US cousins have always called her “stiff” and “old-fashioned.”
I’m looking forward to seeing what happens as more letters fall off the statue, and I can’t wait to see how the book ends up.
Have you ever tried writing something without using a letter? How did it go? (I’m not even going to try, because I know I will mess up.) Let me know in the comments!
And as always, keep reading.