The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society | Book Review

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows was first published in 2008.

 

Blurb:

It’s 1946 and Juliet Ashton can’t think what to write next. Out of the blue, she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey – by chance, he’s acquired a book that once belonged to her – and, spurred on by their mutual love of reading, they begin a correspondence. When Dawsey reveals that he is a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, her curiosity is piqued and it’s not long before she begins to hear from other members. As letters fly back and forth with stories of life in Guernsey under German Occupation, Juliet soon realizes that the society is every bit as extraordinary as its name.”

Please Read:

Before we proceed further with the review, let me just put it out there that when I am constructing a review, it is solely based on my experience as a reader of this book. What works for me might not work for you and vice versa.  I am mentioning this because there are parts of the book that I like and parts that I don’t particularly like. The idea behind this blog is to give a fair and balanced review. This is not to hurt anybody’s sentiments. It is my job to provide my perspective on the book and I will do that without bias.

Now that we have that out of the way let’s get on with the review.

 

My Take:

I came across this book during the New Delhi World Book Fair 2018.  If I am being honest the title, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, made me curious about the book’s content. The first question that popped into my head was, “What does pie have anything to do with a literary society?” followed by “What is a potato peel pie?”. (Ever the hungry Bibliophile.) So I read the blurb to finally make a decision.

The romance of an epistolary format of writing did me in. I have always been a sucker for letters being used to unfold the story bit by bit, revealing new characters letter by letter. The authors have done a great job at maintaining the interest of the reader even in this format while doing justice to the plotline. This format gives you an engaging insight of the life and time of the people living in a post-war state.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is set in 1946, only a year after the end of the second world war and follows the protagonist, Juliet, on her journey as an author in search of a story as well as her exploration of the once German-occupied  Guernsey. The themes of war, survival, and perseverance have been explored in the same breath as the themes of an author’s search for a story, the love of reading and self-discovery. Some of the most beautiful lines in the novel come from Juliet when she is discussing literature with others.

The language of the book is simple and straightforward, and anyone who loves reading will be able to relate to Juliet’s love for her books and how her books are more important to her that some people. Interestingly, books are also why she meets some significant characters in the story.

However, the one thing that put me off was how the East India Company was mentioned in passing, in an almost flippant manner. As a reader, it would have made more sense to me if the author had drawn parallels between the colonization of India with the occupation of Guernsey, and there are plenty to be made. It would have added another perspective to the fold. Or the company should not have been mentioned at all, it was not necessary to the plot in any manner.

 

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Happy reading!

Bookish Brat

 

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20 Responses

  1. Amber Myers says:

    I just LOVE reading and this sounds like a book I’d really enjoy. Thank you for the review!

  2. Leo T. Ly says:

    I haven’t read this book as it’s a different genre than what I am normally reading. I often read finance or personal development books. Maybe I should expand my horizons a little and expand into other more leisure genres.

  3. whoa! that is a long title for a book! hard to remember but surely made it more interesting than normal, now im curious!

  4. Erika Ramona says:

    I haven’t read this book yet and I have to agree that the title itself makes me curious about the content. Since you wrote a good review about it, I might take a look at it later. Thanks!

  5. Sounds like an interesting book. I like the format of the book and it’s something that I would enjoy reading as well. I’ve never heard of it before, so thanks for the brief intro and the review!

  6. Anosa says:

    Ohh, just in time for me to read again. Thanks for the review. Seems like I have already one book in line.

  7. Isatta says:

    This book looks like it is up my alley. Btw, did you find out what a potato peel pie is? Are they good? I love how insightful your review is. You delved deep into what you liked and what you didn’t which I love.

  8. Stacey says:

    That’s one hell of a title. Looks good though.

  9. I remember when this book came out- it was like THE book to read. However, I didn’t read it and forgot all about it. It looks good and thanks for putting it back on my radar.

  10. Alicia says:

    This is outside of my normal genre – I love thrillers. I do like that it sounds straightforward enough. But, I too, get frustrated when an author throws something in which is unimportant. You keep waiting in the story to find out why it was mentioned in the first place.

  11. Valerie says:

    I havent read this book, I usually read christian books and personal development books, but the story and plot sounds interesting, and Juliet sounds like she has a true passion for reading ❤️ Thanks for sharing! Lookinf forward to read this book.

  12. I have never heard of this book. Thanks for posting this, I have to check it out.

  13. Great review. I have not read this book, but I am certainly interested. I love reading.

  14. I had not heard of this book nor the author but I quite like the title. I think it is a book i’d enjoy reading!

  15. This book sounds very interesting. I have to read it soon. I’l check now in Amazon.

  16. Amber S. says:

    I also like epistolary format novels (one of my favorites is told almost entirely through emails!). I haven’t heard of this book yet, but I am going to try to reserve it at my local library, and give it a read!

  17. Blair villanueva says:

    Sounds like an interesting book. I will add this to my reading list for this summer. Thanks for your recommendation.

  18. Ophelia T says:

    This is an interesting. I will check it out soon. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Nicole says:

    I have never heard of this book before, but as many have said the title makes it sound very intriguing! I love finding a good book that I just can’t put down. I’ll have to look into this one, thanks for sharing!

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