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

Charm. This book has loads of it. “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” is set right after the end of WWII and tells the story of a woman author who discovers a unique group of people on the island of Guernsey and the story of how they survived the German occupation of their homeland.

The story is told completely in the format of correspondence the characters send to each other. This style has the potential to be tedious, but the authors pull it off really well. The letters and telegrams are often clever and witty and effectively describe personal histories as well as the story of how the island community was affected by 510sevxovcl-_sx323_bo1204203200_WWII. (Guernsey is a channel island and although it is part of the UK, it’s geographically much closer to France.) The Literary Society was formed one night as an excuse for why some of the islanders were out breaking curfew. It became a way for them to find support from each other and through books. As the London-based author, Juliet, gets to know the people and their island, she grows to love them both.

This book was published in 2009 and probably made its way through many book clubs. That was during my reading drought so I had never heard of it. I’m glad I “discovered” it. It’s a light read and really is full of charm, although some of it is sad (Nazis are involved, afterall). It made me wish I was a better letter writer – many of the letters really are amusing. For maximum effect, read the book in a British accent – because everything sounds wittier that way. And if you do read it, you might want to keep a cheat sheet of characters so that you can keep them all straight.

So, overall, an enthusiastic recommendation.  And thank you, Tom, for introducing me to this book!

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7 thoughts on ““The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

  1. I listened to the audio version of this book when I had to drive long distances for work. It’s one of my favorite books on tape because each character was played by a different voice. It was very easy to distinguish each character and added some humor.

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  2. Pingback: “Where’d You Go, Bernadette”, by Maria Semple | Book Thoughts from Bed

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