Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Shaffer, Mary Ann, and Annie Barrows. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. New York: The Dial Press, 2008.

Plot Summary
Occupied during WWII, the Guernsey Islands off of England become the interest of one Juliet Ashton, writer, correspondent and eventual friend to the inhabitants.

My Thoughts
When I first began reading this book, I tried to pay attention to which character was writing and which character was receiving the letter. I wasn't sure I was going to like the format of this book, but as the characters developed, I found myself actually seeing them. I knew from the tone of the letter, almost, who was writing. I enjoyed how the authors created a story that could be heartbreaking and instead of bashing the reader over the head with the horrors of war, the authors chose to let us experience the events through the various perspectives of the island's inhabitants.

The characters are memorable and help move the story along as they reveal their relationship to each other (mostly through the book club) and how they survived the occupation.

This was a great, light read that I enjoyed very much. I kept thinking about Fall of Giants and Bridgett Jones' Diary as I read. Three vastly different books, yet with a common theme: how do we navigate this thing called life?

One thing I really loved about the book is Juliet's description of how she wonders, "how the book [Charles Lamb's] got to Guernsey. Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true" (Shaffer and Barrows 10). I believe books do "find" us and is it delightful.

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