Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Book Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

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

When was the last time you read a book, finished it, and then immediately wanted to turn back to the front and start all over again? Yeah, it's been a while for me too. This book did it for me. I absolutely, positively LOVED it. It's unique, enchanting, witty, entertaining, and an all around delight to read!
Set in the year or so following the end of World War II, this novel is the story of a writer, Juliet Ashton, who is looking for some material for a new book. Entirely by luck, she receives a letter from a resident of the island of Guernsey (located in the English Channel) who ended up in possession of a former book of hers and is writing to inquire about further reading. As it turns out, this islander is a member of a group - The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - an organization created entirely as a ruse for escaping punishment from German soldiers during the occupation of the island, but ends up becoming something far more important to its members. Juliet is intrigued and the novel follows her interest and subsequent infactuation with the island of Guernsey.
What truly makes this novel so wonderful is how it makes the characters come alive. Their quirkiness, wit, fears, hopes, and emotions all leap off the page and you are left feeling like you really know these people. This level of interaction with the novel is achieved mainly, I feel, because is it written entirely as a series of letters and telegrams! At less than 300 pages, it is already a quick read, but the pages turn even more quickly based on that fact.
My only complaint is that the author leaves some nagging questions unanswered at the end of the novel, but you really hardly notice because you're too busy smiling because you enjoyed it so much! Looking for a quick, delightful read? Pick this one up. Oh, and if anyone is looking for a cheap little birthday present for me.....I'll take a copy of this book for my shelf of honor, please.

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