The Bottom Line
Every once in a while I come across a book that I love, a book that I could read again and again, a book that I want everyone I know to read. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows is one of those books. By far the best book I read in 2008 (and I read a lot), The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a delightful piece of historical fiction that will make you laugh, cry and remember the transformational power of literature.
- The format (a series of letters) provides a quick flow and lots of perspectives
- The characters are delightful
- Interesting history of the Channel Islands during WWII
- It will make you laugh and cry
- Only 288 pages -- I could have read twice that many, it was so good.
- 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society' by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows was published in July 2008.
- Publisher: Dell
- 288 Pages
Juliet Ashton lives in London after World War II and is trying to find a subject for her next book when she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams, who lives on Guernsey, one of the Channel islands between England and France. Dawsey has purchased a secondhand book by Charles Lamb that had Juliet's name and address in the cover. He is writing her to see if she can recommend other books by Lamb.
Dawsey's letters make Juliet interested in life on Guernsey, which was occupied by Germans during the war. She begins exchanging letters with other members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a hodge-podge group of readers who formed their society as an alibi to keep from getting arrested by the Nazis.
Through the letters, readers come to know and love Juliet and a variety of friends and foes on Guernsey. The characters are lovable, quirky and believable. They sort of reminded me of the characters from my favorite children's book, Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.
Eventually Juliet goes to Guernsey, which is exactly what I wanted to do as I got to know the characters.
Although The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society made me smile and laugh throughout, it is not simply a light tale. It is, in fact, about Nazi occupation of the island. There was more than one moment in the novel when I cried at the horror of the Nazis and war. The novel is, however, uplifting. It reminded me of the best of humanity, and the redemptive power of art. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good story.