Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tuesday Review, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Today's review is in honor of Pearl Harbor Day, as well as my mother's birthday. Happy birthday, Mom!

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was recommended by one of my best friends in Florida earlier this year, then Scribbit wrote a review, I think. Still, I had no idea what the book was about. Only that it was loved by people whose opinion I trust. Already you know more about it than I did, simply because I've told you that there's a connection with Pearl Harbor Day. See?

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, is a compilation of letters (fictional, well researched, but not noticeably so) to and from a columnist in London, Juliet. She'd written a column during World War II, this book taking place in the year after the war has ended. The letter which triggered the book is simple enough - a man on Guernsey, in the Channel islands, happens to have read a book Juliet owned when she was young, her name in the front cover, so he writes to Juliet to let her know how much he has enjoyed the book and can she find a biography for him about the author?

The fellow, Dawsey, only began reading during the war, beginning with this book (a compilation of poetry by Charles Lamb), because he and several others were camouflaging a roast pig with a false book club, which became a real book club.

Oh, it gets convoluted from here. You'll really have to read it yourself.

I love that this book is entirely composed of letters to and from Juliet and her friends. I also love that the people of Guernsey win her heart - and mine - with their quirky ways, their heartbreaking experiences during the war. The tales of war, being an occupied island and cut off from the world, the character building which happened to these people during the worst hardships imaginable, endeared both Juliet and myself to these people.

Did I mention that this book made me laugh? My poor husband. I read this book at night in bed, and he'd be nearly asleep when I'd chuckle, then start reading aloud to him. Omigoodness - some of the characters take themselves so seriously, making them delightfully funny. Being able to read an entire book in first person via letters is wonderful!

I do recommend this book. I do. It's light hearted, yet the personal tragedies sustained in wartime are real and gut wrenching. If you have time over the holidays to read, get your hands on a copy of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. You won't regret it.

Until I write again ...



Daryl said...

Loved the book, its being made into a movie .. and today is my stepdaughter's birthday too!

Leenie said...

Own it. Read it twice. Loved it both times. In my mind I've cast Clive Own as Dawsey and Rachel Weisz as Juliet. Hmmm my have to get me a cup of hot chocolate and read it again.