Friday, January 7, 2011

"The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" {by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows} Book Review

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Author: Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

# of Pages: 274

Year Published: 2008

Publisher: The Dial Press

Genre: Historical Fiction

“ I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Our Star Rating...

4.5 Stars

Thanks to Karen, I now want to live in Guernsey. Her beautiful photos made me want to hop on the next boat and enjoy St. Peter's Port or The Little Chapel. The information about the German occupation and the experiences of our dear friends in Guernsey will forever be in my thoughts.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society would be proud of our Book Klubbers! To summarize, the book is about how an author named Juliet discovers a literary society in Guernsey and, in turn, her true self. The novel itself is literally a bound version of letters written post WWII to and from Juliet, her friends, and the members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society.
Overall, we each gave the book about a 4.5. We felt it was like a delightful "attic of letters" that had been uncovered. As we read, we laughed and cried. We were frustrated and angry, but hopeful for the characters.
We all agreed that the eccentricities of each character made the book charming. Isola was one of the most memorable characters. Her quirky personality, including her head-bump readings and "Detection Notes" were a hit! We loved Kit for her knee-kissing and precious treasure box. And though most of us loved the shy, mysterious, but kind Dawsey, we wished we could have known him better.
Of course, our conversation all turned to Elizabeth. We all thought it was interesting that Juliet seemed to become more like Elizabeth as she lived in her house and became the caretaker of her daughter, Kit. I think each of us in the room wished we were more like Elizabeth was in life - bold and strong, but humble and caring.
The only downside we could see from the book was that we felt like we missed some pieces of the story because of its letter-style (though some said they liked that they could fill in the blanks). We also felt like we would have liked to get to know some of the characters better.
After reading the book, I would agree that the art of letter writing has been somewhat lost in our crazy, fast paced society. Although texting, emailing, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs are fun and exciting, there is something precious about opening your mailbox and finding a good old fashioned letter. Thank you, Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, for giving us something to smile about!

Sincerely with XXX,


P.S. Thank you for all the fabulous food once again at book club. I am beginning to think we are more like the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society than I previously thought - good food and good books . . . mmmm . . . my favorite combination.


*Kelly* said...

Robin, what a perfectly wonderful book review! You've done a great job capturing the tender moments of the book while also mentioning all of our personal comments discussed at our meeting. Thank you for your delightful review, and I agree with you about wanting to live on Guernsey now!!

Jillian said...

Wonderful Review Robin!! Perfectly written, just like 8Juliet's letters-:)

Kellie H said...

I love the PS just like the letters. Good Job! It is just what I would have said. You covered it all. This is one of those books I will reflect on throughout my life. Loved it!