Monday, June 22, 2009

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, is the most enjoyable novel I've read in ages. I don't know why it took me so long to get around to it--the book has been on the best seller lists for many months, and deservedly so.
I finished it last night, and am tempted to turn it over and start again. The characters are so real that I'd like to visit the Channel Island of Guernsey and talk with their descendants to find out what happened to everybody after the story ended.
Authors Shaffer and Barrows constructed the book in the form of letters to and from writer Juliet Ashton in the year immediately following the end of World War II. By the way, you writers out there, don’t let anyone tell you World War II novels won’t sell. Give the story a setting and format as unusual as The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society and it will sell like, well, hotcakes, if not Potato Peel Pie.
The story starts when Juliet receives a letter from a stranger, a founding member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. And so begins a remarkable tale of the island of Guernsey during the German Occupation. The story is at turns hilarious, fascinating, and heartbreaking. I had no idea what "occupation" really entailed until I read this book. The story itself is fiction, but the facts of the occupation and Nazi atrocities are all too true.
I can't recommend this novel strongly enough. As one of the characters writes, “Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
I bought the trade paperback version, but plan to purchase The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society in hardback to add it to my library of special favorites.

1 comment:

  1. I loved this book! I listened to the audio version, which I can't recommend highly enough. :)