The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows Pages: 274 Published: 2008
The book: In January 1946, Juliet Ashton, a writer, receives a letter from a man she has never met, Dawsey Adams. He owns a book that used to belong to her. They begin to correspond, and it turns out that Dawsey was a founding member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Juliet continues to correspond with Dawsey, curious to learn more about the society, which was founded during the German occupation of the channels islands.
You might like it because: It’s a fun, easy read with amusing characters, love stories and lots of literary references for book lovers.
What did other people say?
“A sparkling epistolary novel radiating wit, lightly worn erudition and written with great assurance and aplomb.” – The Sunday Times (London)
“A jewel . . . Poignant and keenly observed, Guernsey is a small masterpiece about love, war, and the immeasurable sustenance to be found in good books and good friends.” – People
Awards & Recognition:
A New York Times Best Seller
The Washington Post “Best Books” winner 2008
How quickly will you get into the book? The book is interesting from the beginning, but the point where I got excited was page 28; that’s when I was sure I wanted to keep reading.
You might not like it because: This story is told in a series of letters between different characters. Some readers may not like this style of storytelling.
It’s a quaint, charming, and sentimental story, full of characters that are mostly witty and often slightly eccentric. In short, this is a somewhat rose-tinted view of life in the Channel Islands under the Germans in World War II.
What might you read next?
For a more serious World War II story also told using letters, read Kressmann Taylor’s Address Unknown.
Or, try something completely different; pick up Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, which is mentioned by characters in the book.
I enjoyed The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, but at times I felt as if the authors were trying to mimic the style and tone used by Helene Hanff in her book 84 Charing Cross Road, a more serious book. In my view, Hanff does it better. Decide for yourself.