Flashback Friday REWIND: Ella Minnow Pea

ffbutton2Flashback Friday is a weekly tradition started here at Bookshelf Fantasies, focusing on showing some love for the older books in our lives and on our shelves. If you’d like to join in, just pick a book published at least five years ago, post your Flashback Friday pick on your blog, and let us all know about that special book from your reading past and why it matters to you. Don’t forget to link up!

I’ll be traveling for a few weeks during the month of June, so rather than skipping Flashback Friday,  I thought I’d dig back into my FF archives and revisit some of my very first flashback books.

From September 2012, an early Flashback Friday:

My very own copy, fresh from the shelf! Excuse the shaky photography, please. Hey, it’s the book that counts!

Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn

(published 2001)

Simply one of the most delicious books I’ve ever read, sure to delight anyone who’s every played with words, laughed at a clever twist of phrase, or admired a quirky anagram.

From Amazon:

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 pangram, “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.

A pangram, by the way, is a sentence containing every letter of the alphabet. This clever, clever book is framed by the famous quick brown fox pangram, and moves into marvelous insanity as the people of Nollop lose the right to use letters of the alphabet as they fall from the statue of their island’s hero. As each letter drops, author Mark Dunn drops it from the novel as well. If you think that’s an easy feat, you clearly haven’t read Ella Minnow Pea yet! The verbal gymnastics are quite magnificent to behold, and yet the story itself is engaging and dynamic, not just second-fiddle to some truly impressive wordplay.

The *uick brown fox *umps over the la*y dog

Looking back through Ella Minnow Pea is so much fun, such a great reminder of how much I loved this book when I first read it, that it may be time to dust it off and read it again. If you’re visiting Bookshelf Fantasies, I’m guessing you’re a booklover, which in my mind equates to wordlover… in which case, pick up a copy of Ella Minnow Pea and give yourself a real treat.

Coming next week, one more “rewind” Flashback Friday post. And then, back to “new” oldies!

What flashback book is on your mind this week?

Note from your friendly Bookshelf Fantasies host: To join in the Flashback Friday fun:

  • Grab the Flashback Friday button
  • Post your own Flashback Friday entry on your blog (and mention Bookshelf Fantasies as the host of the meme, if you please!)
  • Leave your link in the comments below
  • Check out other FF posts… and discover some terrific hidden gems to add to your TBR piles!


Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

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