Ella Minnow Pea and her family live on the island of Nollop, a small nation off the coast of South Carolina. Nollop is named for Nevin Nollop, the man credited with the sentence “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” When the letter ‘z’ falls from a statue of Nollop depicting the sentence, community leaders determine that Nollop is encouraging them to eradicate the letter ‘z’ from usage, and in order to ensure that the letter is no longer being used, they institute a three-tier punishment for people caught using the letter in either oral or written communication: first time offenders are verbally warned, second time offenders are either placed in stocks in the town center or flogged (their choice), and third-time offenders are banished from the island and shipped to the United States. At first it’s not so bad, but as more letters fall from the statue and become banned, Ella and her family members and friends work to find a way to stop the council’s madness and control.
Ella Minnow Pea is quite funny at times, and as the novel went on, I found it interesting to see how they learned how to communicate without using certain letters. However, it was also quite alarming when viewed as a cautionary tale about what would happen if a government went from being something of a democracy to a totalitarian regime. Additionally, it showed why it was important that the voices of the people be heard.
I absolutely recommend this to anyone who hasn’t read it yet. It’s really a fantastic book.
Rating: 5 stars
Qualifying Challenges: 100 Books, Countdown Challenge, 999 Challenge, Winter Reading Challenge
999 Category: From the TBR Pile