Book Review – Ella Minnow Pea

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Title: Ella Minnow Pea

Author: Mark Dunn

Publisher: Methuen Publishing

ISBN: 9780413772954

Three Word Description: Quick, Funny, Weird

(Note my ‘design’ for the post is a little different from previous reviews, but decided that this might save some space)

Nevin Nollop left the islanders of Nollop with the treasured legacy of his pangram the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. But as the letters begin to crumble on the monumental inscription, the island’s council forbids the use of the lost letters and silence threatens Ella and her family.

This short novel is no doubt the most unique and silliest books I’ve ever read. I loved it. This book is written as letters between the residents of Nollop, fretting over the new restrictions while also discussing day-to-day matters and other interests. The language is overly complicated and formal, which was quite annoying for me as a non-native speaker, but it had its reason. By the near-end, I just burst out laughing because of the poor residents trying to communicate in their language with almost no letters to their disposal.

Although I liked the characters, they didn’t really feel especially “3-dimensional” to me. No I can definitely imagine them, but because this novel was written as letters, the only description we got of the characters was by interpreting their letters. Still, I found the enjoyment more in the plot, and I did like the characters after all. Of course, since Ella and I share the same name, we were fated to bond from the beginning. But she and her cousin were my favourites, along with the City Council.

By the beginning it was a tiny bit slow, but I really mean tiny, considering that I finished it in one sitting. So it didn’t bother me, but don’t be put off by the first two-three chapters/letters.

Mind you, this is a dystopian novel and some pretty serious things happens to the citizens of Nollop as they are being oppressed by the City Council. But we’re talking Welcome To Night Vale weirdness people. It’s people facing existential questions in an authoritarianism, but it’s just so ridiculously weird at the same time. And I love that mix.

I really liked this weird novel that could totally pass up as an event in Welcome To Night Vale (haven’t heard it? You don’t know what you’ve been missing). Recommend this if you want something funny and quick, but also cozy, to read.

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