Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Also reviewed by Mindy and Anne, a guest reviewer.

Summary: January 1946: Writer Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a stranger, a founding member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. And so begins a remarkable tale of the island of Guernsey during the German Occupation, and of a society as extraordinary as its name. (Summary from back of the book and image from

My Review: Absolutely lovely, that's how I'd describe this book. It's hard not to want to climb inside the pages and start a new life with your brand new friends: the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I utterly fell in love with the quirky characters, the witty humor, and the kindness the people portrayed. It made me want to find a small island, move there, and raise my children.

I had a few quotes I thoroughly enjoyed and that I believe will sell you on the novel:
  • Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books--quirky Isola.
  • Men are more interesting in books than they are in real life--Isola again.
  • I also eye-lash curler--which makes my eyes cross whenever I use it--Juliet.
  • ...and the clever customers ask for a recommendation instead, whereupon we frog-march them over to a particular volume and command them to read it--Juliet. (I can relate to this as a teacher.)
  • I am mostly above petty vengeance--Juliet.
  • I think you learn more if you're laughing at the same time--John Booker.
  • Your questions regarding that gentleman are very delicate, very subtle, very much like being smacked in the head with a mallet--Juliet. (*Absolute favorite line in the book.)
Humanity and living through tragedy threads its way through this story depicting the German Occupation of the English Channel Islands. I appreciated its showing that there were good and bad people on both sides, German and English. It depicted people with strength of character and devoted to what they knew to be right stuck in difficult, sometimes horrible situations.

It's beautifully written through the format of correspondence, letters and telegrams. I want to start writing letters again (to whom, I'm not sure) just so I can enjoy the intimate confidence of a good friend, both revealing thoughts and learning some. This book is delightful, refreshing, savored in only the way devouring a book can be. I loved it! You should pick up this book...immediately. (See: I'm taking the advice given in the book--commanding you to read it.)

My Rating: 5 Stars

Sum it up: A wonderful escape into a different time where after suffering there is healing.


Katy said...

My aunt loved this book--she highly recommends it as well. :) I'm looking forward to reading it.

Anonymous said...

Isn't this just the most lovely book? It is one of my top reads ever. Glad to see that it is still popular and more people are discovering it. The audio version is wonderful, 4 readers and many, many unique character accents.

Tiffany -- the mommy said...

Our book club just read this book and it was great! I LOVED it.


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