Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fiction Book Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Book Cover
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, a delightful novel of letters beginning with writer Juliet Ashton,who in January 1946,writes to her publisher to say that she is tired of covering the “light-hearted” side of the war. Later, she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams, a Guernsey Island farmer, who has discovered her name in the front cover of a Charles Lamb novel. He would like to order more of Charles Lamb's writings by post. Dawsey tells her of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, a unique book club created by a few individuals during the German occupation as a way to protect its members from arrest.

Juliet Ashton becomes more absorbed in Guernsey and its inhabitants. She learns of their struggles, their hopes, their fears, and the lives of these individuals are soon intertwined. They share common interests and new friendships develop. Book club members write letters to Juliet describing how reading has made a difference in their lives.

Through stories, we are inexplicably magically altered in some manner. Reading allows us to see our lives in a new way, learn something exciting and new, or become completely lost in a world different from our own. We may strongly relate to a character, to an idea, or to the flow of words that are beautiful, poetic, and perfectly describe a feeling or emotion. Delicate placement of words creates euphony, words moving, dancing, spilling over the page, and finally plunging into perfect meaning for the reader.

Juliet writes: “I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.”

In a letter from Juliet to Dawsey:

“That’s what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you onto another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book. It’s geometrically progressive-all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment.”

She decides to travel to Guernsey in order to meet and learn more about its inhabitants and their struggles. Read this book for an inspirational story about friendship, and the power of books to capture a reader, change their lives and never let go.

For more information visit the author's website:

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

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