1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Hugely enjoyable and thought-provoking,
This review is from: Ella Minnow Pea (Paperback)
Ella Minnow Pea is a novel told through letters sent by Ella Minnow Pea and her family and other residents of Nollop. Nollop is an island off the American coast whose greatest son was the creator of the sentence "the quickly brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" - a 37 character sentence that utilises every letter of the alphabet. When the letters start to fall off a statue erected in his honour, the island's rulers decide it is a signal that they should stop using them, slowly restricting the vocabulary of the islanders. The islanders initially fret about the impact that the loss of using letters will have on their ability to communicate, before their lives start to slowly fall apart as the letters they can use are further restricted.
This is a deeply funny book, with the absurdity of the situation, the reactions of the islanders and their tactics to cope with life providing much humour. The conclusion of book raises an especially wry smile. But this humour masks many of the deeper themes that Dunn writes about - religious oppression, the right to question our leaders and how societies respond to the threat of totalitarianism. The book is also a celebration of language, and Dunn explores the impact an inability to express ourselves properly has on our humanity. This is a well written and intelligent book, which succeeds in making us care about the islanders and laugh at cry at their progress throughout the novel, as well as being thought provoking at the same time.