Thursday, August 20, 2009

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

5 Star

When Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a gentleman who discovered her name written in a used book, they develop a regular correspondence. Letters from him, as well as the neighbours he convinces to write to her, shed new light on the happy war stories she's grown tired of covering. Juliet learns how The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society started and how the tiny island of Guernsey suffered during the German Occupation, giving her writing and her life new inspiration. 

Lydia - 5 Star

I thoroughly enjoyed The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and once I got used to the style of the story, which was told mainly through letters, and figured out the characters, I was hooked. I was fascinated by the history and found the main character Juliette interesting with her writing career and her disinterest in the usual pursuits of women at the time including the pursuit of a husband.

Once into it, I loved the style of the letters, a lost art-form in our modern world and wanted to run out and write some letters (which I then emailed…). It was interesting to see how correspondence during that time period was used and I was fascinated by how a story could be weaved from simple letters.

I also appreciated that the portrayal of the war showed the humanity of both sides. I loved all the characters and the small community feel and really want to go visit the Channel Islands now.

I feel that The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society would make a great movie. I think the story itself could be portrayed well on film, regardless of the style of prose through letters.

Kathryn - 5 Star

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was fascinating from beginning to end and I would recommend it to everyone! It kept me wanting to know more about the history so much so that I was looking things up on the internet during the read!

We are following the journey of a writer living in London just after the end of World War II. Juliet Ashton discovers the existence of a literary society that was created (and continued) on the island of Guernsey in the Channel Islands during the war. The society was begun quite accidentally during the island’s occupation as a means hiding the fact that they were having a secret pig roast- it was continued as a way to relieve their boredom. Each member gives us an account of their personality, their lives, their hopes and dreams via letters to Juliet. Juliet falls in love with them and travels to Guernsey to meet them in person.

The story is written in letter format as well as some diary, but it doesn’t feel clunky. The narrative within each letter is very much alive and the correspondence is almost daily so you get the feel of an active conversation- as quick as email!

Although this is obviously not chick lit, and the subject matter was sometimes very hard to read, it has some really funny moments as well and the speed of storytelling that I like about the chick lit genre- so the best of both worlds really! I wish it had never ended.

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