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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows (final thoughts)

September 23, 2010

When I finished my reread Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows I felt sorry for whatever book came after it. How could any book compare to the epic-ness that was the close of the HP series? And to be honest, when I first cracked open The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society two days later, I glanced over the first two or three pages and promptly put it back down. I just wasn’t ready. Thankfully the next morning I was not only ready for it, I had a great need for it, as it kept me sane through a major transit breakdown. After that first false start, Guernsey had me hooked. And let me tell you, it was lovely.

Guernsey is a collection of letters primarily to and from English author Juliet Ashton and begins in January 1946 with letters to her publisher. During the war Juliet had published a number of lighthearted articles about the war which now have been collected and published in a single book. Sales have been surprisingly high, and Juliet is just finishing a promo tour before settling down on her new book. However, she can’t decided on a topic. At least not one she would be happy living with for years to come, something deeper and more serious than her first novel. Then, out of the blue, she receives a letter from a Mr. Dawsey Adams, a resident of the small island of Guernsey. They strike up a correspondence, and before Juliet knows it, she’s receiving letters from a whole host of characters from Guernsey. And she might just have found the subject for her next novel.

Although Guernsey is fiction, by the end all the senders and recipients seemed so real and full of life. I love books with multiple narrators, and this was one of the best. Each letter revealed little quirks about the sender and the Guernsey community, but also of the horrors and daily frustrations of WWII. Occupied by the Germans for 5 years, Guernsey was completely cut off from the rest of the world, and I was mesmerized by their stories of survival.

Lately it has seemed that it’s either been a story’s plot or characters that has kept me reading. With Guernsey it was both. The stories of the war and Juliet’s increasing involvement in the lives of the Society members alone were compelling. Add to that a myriad of colourful characters, each with unique personalities and you’ve got a book that I will want to read over and over again.

I’m trying really hard not to fill this post with wonderful and lovely, so I’m just going to end by saying if you haven’t read this book yet, please do. It’s wonderfully lovely.

My mom did a guest post for Guernsey here last year. To read some of her thoughts on the book, head over here: Guest Post: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
[I talked to my mom when I was half way through the book and said, “This book is so good!” There was a brief pause and then she said, “Well, yeah.” The ‘duh’ was implied.]

My rating: 9/10

Edit: Read during September to fulfill my Pinky Pact with Sheila :)

12 Comments leave one →
  1. September 23, 2010 7:08 pm

    This book is all about wonderful and lovely. I didn’t expect to fall in love with it like I did.

  2. September 23, 2010 9:01 pm

    You’re right–it is wonderfully lovely. Glad you liked it!

  3. September 24, 2010 6:09 am

    I’ve heard some great things about this book but haven’t read it yet. Sounds wonderful though and I’m glad it got you over the Harry Potter ending slump.

  4. September 24, 2010 9:51 am

    I loved this book when I read it last yea! Like you at the end I cared so deeply for all the people in the novel.

  5. September 24, 2010 10:22 am

    lovely review–I really want to read this one

  6. September 24, 2010 6:01 pm

    I think lovely sums it up…this book is worth re-reading for me :D

    Glad you took the plunge and enjoyed it!

  7. September 27, 2010 2:10 pm

    This was one of my favorite books of 2009!!! I loved this book :)

  8. September 30, 2010 7:01 pm

    I will someday read this one. :) Glad you enjoyed it!

  9. September 30, 2010 8:39 pm

    I am finally posted! GAH! Right under the wire! Nutso around here lately! Love your review and I could not agree more.

    Thanks for doing this with me – it was fun and we both read a wonderful book! :)

  10. October 1, 2010 6:11 am

    I loved this book too and have recommended it to lots of my friends.

  11. stacybuckeye permalink
    October 5, 2010 12:27 pm

    Love your mom’s reaction! My Mom gave me her copy over a year ago telling me to read it and it’s still sitting on my shelf. I have a feeling her reaction will be the same when I finally get around to reading it!

  12. October 17, 2010 12:09 pm

    Sounds amazing. And like something I should definitely read.

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