Monday, October 3, 2011

Review Ella Minnow Pea

Title Ella Minnow Pea
By Mark Dunn
For Book club
Source Library book club set

First sentence Dear Cousin Tassie, thank you for the lovely postcards.

On the fictional island of Nollop, named for Nevin Nollop, the man famous for the phrase: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog, cousins Ella and Tassie write letters as an unfortunate even takes place. As letters of the famous phrase begin to fall from the statue of Nollop, the town council bans each letter from use as it falls.

General thoughts
Oh, where can I begin? I really expected to like this one and, yet, I don't feel bad saying I didn't. Maybe I just took this one way too seriously, alright I'll admit that's exactly what I did, but any time "government" takes too much control I take things very seriously! My biggest annoyance, after all was said and done, was the convenience of the story. The letters that fell, the younger children being allowed to speak the banned letters, (thrown in so someone could write down the new phrase they were all trying to come up with. Come on, you know that's why he threw that in,) the sudden decision to allow the use of proxy letters. All of these things were just used as a means to an end but it really bothered me. I'm not saying I could manage to write this book, and I'm sure Dunn had a hard time figuring it all out but he chose which letters fell for HIS convenience. All the clever ways he came up with to deliver the letters after the mail was being checked sounded as contrived as saying a pink elephant flew into town and began delivering them. I also had the impression that Dunn decided he liked Tassie more than Ella and almost forgot that he had to have Ella as the main character for a fun title to the book. And don't get me started on the dang council! If I'd been on the island I would have marched up to the statue, after the first banned letter, and knocked them all down and proclaimed my self a vessel for Nollop and inform them that they should all bow down and worship me. They probably would have fallen for it too! On the other hand I was irritated with what I felt was a mockery of deity and religion. And then the author manages to insult Nollop and accuse him of stumbling upon the phrase and probably stealing it. Yes, much like Dunn contrived a stupid little book and stole millions of people's money!  Alright, alright, I'm shutting up. (grumble, grumble) I'm sorry I'm being so mean but I did NOT like this one and I feel entitled to my opinion.

Sorry, but all the characters were just a means to an end as well. Resulting in absolutely no connection to any of them.

Would I recommend it? 
I know most people love it and enjoy it as a simple story but I delved deeper and I hated what I read! So no, I wouldn't.


  1. Whew! Finally someone who feels the same way. I really wanted to love this book, and I love the concept, but for me, it just didn't work very well, for most of the same reasons as you elucidate. I couldn't understand why everyone in the book was so accepting of the stupidity. It annoyed me so much that I couldn't finish it.

  2. Megan, Oh good! I was so worried I was going to be all alone in my feelings. I wonder if anyone at my book club will feel the same.

  3. Someone recommended this to me awhile back saying they thought I'd love it. Now I don't remember who it was (obviously not you!) :) but I'm not in a hurry to read it. I hate it when things happen in a book for the sole purpose of moving the plot. And I think too hard about nearly everything I read, so I'd probably have similar problems.
    That's too bad. The title's really cute.

  4. I love it when when you don't like a book--keeps me giggling all day. You can be so expressive. ;)

  5. Yes, you took it too seriously! :)
    I enjoyed it for the reason that I knew (or assumed I should say) that it was an experiment by the author and I thought he had fun with it, which made me have fun too. It did bug me that the town was so willing, and the council was so awful. Yes, it bugged me. But still I thought it was fun and I was pretty impressed with his ability to write without some pretty key letters. Really, it was fun!

  6. So, I'm confused! Did you like it or hate it? Tell us how you really feel.

  7. Kathy, It's a fast read but very contrived.

    Techno Grandma, I knew YOU'D Like this one. ;)

    Suey, Yeah, yeah, but I did read an interview, and the author meant it as more than just a fun word book. So if he meant it that way than I can take it that way. ;)

  8. He meant it more than just a fun book? Really? Well, I guess if he meant it to be more serious, than you for sure CAN take it more serious! You'll have to share that interview with us for book club.

  9. Jenny, great review. I think the hardest reviews are the ones we write about books we're not fond of. Thanks for the honesty.

  10. A fabulous review! I havent read it but I always like to find reviews that go against the grain. I feel like everyone LOVES this and I've been looking for something to even the playing field.

  11. Hmmm I don't know if I quite understand this book at all. Am I being stupid or is the whole thing really confusing? I'm loving your reviews Jenny. They always make me laugh.

  12. Boy mom, Oh, I'm sorry, I thought I was clear enough, but you know me, timid, timid, timid. ;)

    Suey, Yeah, MAINLY it was a fun book but he meant for the political religious stuff to be taken seriously.

    Dana, Thanks.

    iwriteinbooks, Yeah, I'm always the odd man out on these types, I think there might be something wrong with me. ;)

    Lan, Wait, did you read this one or was my review just THAT confusing?

  13. No I haven't read this one. Your review was the only thing that made any sense! The plot itself is what I don't get...maybe I should stop stalking before bed!

  14. Lan, :) Well, everyone said it was just a fun book about words but I thought it was more than that and I didn't like it...but I think I got that across. ;)

  15. Now that I've finally finished the book, I can come and comment (and read) your review.

    My biggest problem with the book was that every character felt the same! They all spoke/wrote the same. There was no way to tell them apart.

  16. Jenni, Amen! I can't believe I didn't list that dislike.