Wednesday, November 11, 2009

May I Be A Member Too?

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

First let me start this post by saying a thank you to all of the Veteran's out there who are doing and have done such a fine job serving our country. I have a member of my family who is currently serving and both of my grandpas served during the Korean War. I think this most wonderful book 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society' is a great selection to review on a day that honors our Veteran's. It speaks to all of the horrible things that war does to people, but also to the hope that, as humans, we all need to survive it as well.

This novel is told through letters and I really enjoyed that. A lot of books I've been reading today have incredibly long chapters so this was refreshing. The main recipient of these letters is Juliet Ashton. She spent WWII in London writing under the name of Izzy Bickerstaff detailing a modern woman's experience in the War and became very popular when she published these pieces as a book afterwards. Meanwhile, she receives a letter from a Mr. Dawsey who owned a book that she had previously owned and they strike up a conversation via letters about his experience during the War. Mr. Dawsey lives in Guernsey, which if you don't know, was occupied by Germany during WWII. He and his friends, as a way to have some much needed fun, form the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

For me, what was most enjoyable about this book was all of the wonderful people you get to meet. Even though the book was pretty short, the authors introduced us to multiple characters who were well formed, entertaining and believable. Another thing that was really wonderful was that the book honestly portrayed how difficult the War was for both those who had lived in London, and even more so for those who lived in occupied Guernsey. Even more so seemed to be how much they wanted to survive. It really gave a sense, through being a part of the Guernsey community, they were able to rebuild their lives after the War.

The sad thing of course is that because it is a war not all of the characters we are introduced to and grow to love will survive. Also, this book has been a huge commercial success for the authors and it was Mary Ann Shaffer's first book, and she sadly passed away in 2008.

If you have read this book, who were your favorite character(s)? Mine were Eben and Isola!

(This book was lent to me by my mom. Thanks G!)


  1. I haven't read this one yet though I have seen it favorably reviewed just about everywhere. I probably avoided it because it's linked to a war and I thought I didn't read a lot of war era books, but then I was making a list the other day and I realize that it might not be necessarily true. Glad you enjoyed this one. I might pick it up yet!

  2. I've heard a lot of great things about this book, but I haven't heard many things from sources I trust. It sounds like a great read, and I do love books written in letter format. I think this book may be a perfect one to take on the train home for Christmas!

  3. I LOVED this book. When I'd finished reading it I was sad that I'd finally read it, because I could never read it for the first time again.

    Great review!

  4. Oh, I completely fell in love with this novel! Even though it wasn't terribly long, I devoured it in two nights; it was impossible for me to stop reading. I really loved Juliet and admired her as a person and a writer! And I thought the ending was just perfect. I could really read it again!

  5. I finished this book last week and SO enjoyed it. :) I guess I liked Juliet the most...Kit, too. I would read this again, for sure. :)


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