Tuesday, October 30, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society"

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
By Mary Ann Shaffer
and Annie Barrows
Copyright 2008
The Dial Press
Adult Fiction

Yes, I know.  This is just about the stupidest book title you've ever seen in your life.  What, you may ask, was I thinking when I picked it up and decided to read it?  Well I'll tell you.  I was thinking that a book with this stupid of a title must have something interesting inside in order to compensate for the ridiculous name (and I was also thinking that I saw this title on the list of "100 books you JUST MUST read" so it must have some redeeming qualities).

This is an unconventionally written tale about a small town on the Channel Island of Guernsey recovering after a five-year occupation during WWII.  The story is written as a series of letters between a writer named Juliet Ashton who survived the war in London, and the residents of Guernsey who formed a literary society, in part to help them pass the time during the occupation, but mostly as a cover-up for when they were caught out after curfew one night by the Germans.  Juliet also pens letters to friends, and the residents of Guernsey write to the friends once Juliet decides to visit the island in person. 

The entire story was beautifully written, and so clever how the authors were able to convey the sentiments of the survivors of the war through the correspondence between the characters.  As a reader, I was able to sympathize with them for what they had been through, but at the same time, was able to see their strength and their readiness to move forward with their lives despite the terrible experiences they had survived.

A very heartwarming story, clever and enjoyable to read.  This would make a GREAT book club book and would be enjoyed by a wide variety of readers.  Truly a great, great story (And yes, I would have given it 5 Bookmarks if it had had a better title). 


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