Tuesday, March 30, 2010

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

You can find the GoodReads synopsis here.

"I realize that our name, the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, is an unusual one and could easily be subjected to ridicule. Would you assure me that you will not be tempted to do so?" Unusual isn't totally accurate. The name of this society, and this book, is a mouthful, and daunting enough to turn away an avid reader. But certainly the old adage, "never judge a book by it's cover," can also be applied to the book's name. Don't let the title fool you -- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is one of the most interesting and engaging reads I have ever picked up.
The format, a series of letters from a journalist to members of the Guernsey...Society, can be just as daunting as the title implies. But read on! Sooner than you can imagine each characters' voice and personality assert themselves, and suddenly you are visually eavesdropping on a rich correspondence that will *almost* make you wish you had been there to experience the German Occupation of the island of Guernsey during World War II. And if this book doesn't transport you quite to that level, it will at least make you want to visit the island of Guernsey, and know the wonderful type of people that inhabit it.
I fell in love with Juliet (the journalist and main character) immediately. She is what every literary loving lady wants to be - clever, smart, fun, passionate and honest. She is also single which of course gives us the opportunity for a love story. A by-plot in the much more interesting story of the island and it's inhabitant's way of coping with a devastating war - literature.
Every character is unique and eccentric in their own way. Where else but Guernsey could you find a drunk-turned-Lord-turned-actor, a witch, an illegitimate child, a judge, and a proper lady all in one literary and potato peel pie society? Nowhere. And you will fall in love with each one as you get to know them through their letters and the books that define them. 5 stars.

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