The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

This is the first book I’ve read for the Winter 2014 Reading Challenge. I started reading it on the train back from Paris yesterday and finished it in bed last night, which probably already tells you something about what I thought of the book. I read it for the category “Read a “bookish book” (in which books play an important role, e.g. the setting involves a bookstore or library, a major character is an author, or a book that celebrates reading and books”, which is worth 20 points. Usually I would put the autor of the book in the post title, but it was already really long, so I’ll say it here. This book was written by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows.

The plot
It’s January 1946. London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War and author Juliet Ashton is looking for ideas for her next book. She finds it when she receives a letter out of the blue from a man she’s never met, a native of Guernsey, who has got hold of a book that used to belong to her. Juliet starts corresponding with the man, and with his friends on Guernsey, learning all about life on the island, which was occupied by the Nazis during the war. The letter writers from the island are all members of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a sort of book club that was initially founded as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when the group were caught breaking curfew, but came to have a profound effect on thes lives of all those involved.

My review
I loved this book! Although the war plays a large role in the story and there is at least one tragic story (don’t worry, no spoilers!), the book is never depressing. Instead it is heart-warming, thought-provoking and, at times, even funny. The harsh realities of war are never glossed over, but I wouldn’t consider this book to be a “war story”. Instead, it’s essentially a book about the love of reading and the sheer power of books. It’s a quick little read, but one that will leave you with a smile on your face. Also, it’s written in the form of letters, so if you like to send/receive snail mail and are passionate about books this is one for you. It’s also made me want to find out more about the German occupation of Germany dring World War II!  I will admit that the book is a bit “cutesy” and the author doesn’t always manage to make the different voices distinct enough, but I’m still giving this one five stars.

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12 thoughts on “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

  1. This sounds like another book I need to put on my list! I still send snail mail and I surely buy into the power of books. Thanks for the review and recommendation! I’ve already ordered the Douglas Adams book you mentioned a while ago.

    1. The Douglas Adams book is next on my challenge list – I started reading it on the train home from work and so far it’s just as fantastic as I remember all the other Adams books being.

  2. I loved this book! I keep reading to the end even though I knew I was starting in labour with Alice and needed some sleep pre-big contractions! When I went to visit Bex in Jersey this summer it was so interesting seeing how things on the island were shaped by the occupation. Really interesting stuff!

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