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Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Review by Mindy

Wow, my first review... I picked this book, because it was one that I loved instantly. There was something about it that caught me right away. What I liked most was the humor, and the sweet story. It takes place in 1946, after WWII. A little back ground information: the occupation by the Germans in Guernsey happened during the war, and they stayed for five years. This book is based on those events, just with fictional characters. I loved the creative way in how this is written. It's a series of letters written to, from, and about the main character Juliet Ashton, and others in her life. Juliet is a writer who wrote a collection of popular newspaper articles about the war, that were published into a book. She receives a letter from a gentleman named Dawsey, who lives in Guernsey of the Channel Islands. They share a common like for Charles Lamb's writings. In one of the letters written to Juliet from Dawsey, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is mentioned, and over a series of more letters, Juliet is hooked on the islands history, the people, and a character whose story is told by many who live on the island. Elizabeth is her name, and she's the reason the society received its name and most importantly, how it came to be. During the book, Juliet is pondering on what to write her next book about, and eventually choses to write about Guernsey, and there finds the true subject of her book. So many entertaining things happen to Juliet and her friends along the way as she makes her way to visit Guernsey to tell their story of the occupation.
I could go on and on, but I don't want to give too much away. However, there are some great lines in the book. One I thought was so funny, and one that describes my love of reading. Isola (a Guernsey resident, writes to Sidney Juliet's friend and publisher) writes: "Mrs. Gilbert has always been a nasty one, but now I know that she can't help it--she's got a big pit in her Benevolence spot. She feel in a quarry when she was a girl, and my guess is she cracked her Benevolence and was never the same since." And the part that spoke to me was a line from Juliet when she writes that books have "secret sort of homing instinct that brings them to their perfect readers." Ahhhhh. Love that :)
One of my favorite parts of the book was the end. Isola wrote detection notes because she was trying to figure some things that were happening, and she wanted to be like Miss Marple. I was laughing out loud. I also cried in a spot, but I can't give that away. After you read the book, let me know if you cried, and at what spot, and we'll compare notes.
(There is a couple instances of language in the dang family.)
I hope that everyone enjoys this book as much as I did. I really could go on and on and tell you so many more great things. Read it for yourself. It put a smile on my face, and I always have a smile when I think about it.

My rating: 5 stars

Would I read it again: Absolutely. Many, many times

Recommend it: Yes, yes, yes

Would I read others books from these gals: Already have

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

Authors: Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

Publisher: A Dial Press/A Division of Random House

Published Date: August 2008

ISBN: 978-0-385-34099-1

Hardcover; 274 pages

Dearest FTC FYI: I received this book as a gift.


  1. Great review! I really agree, it was a fun book to read and I was completely caught up in by the end of chapter 1!

  2. I came to visit just like I promised! I love you guys and your podcasts! If you want to, you're MORE than welcome to become followers of my blog too! he he.

  3. Thank you for the sweet words, Melissa, and congratulations on your upcoming book! Oh, by the way, you have a new follower on your blog :).

  4. Yea Melissa! You came to visit us! So glad that someday soon we can have a podcast featuring your book! :)

  5. This book is absolutely delightful! (In fact, after the gray funk Mockingjay left me in I immediately downloaded the audiobook because I knew it would life my spirits. It's one of the few books I've ever flipped over upon completion and begun reading again. Just as Anne of Green Gables has me wishing to visit PEI, I now want to go to Guernsey.

    I think the writing does a wonderful job capturing the different voices of the various characters. It feels true the way it shows both the vileness of mankind and the incredible nobility that exists within us.

    The writing is so cleverly subtle you don't notice some of the transitions into the budding romance--as when two characters begin referring to each other by their first names.

    Cry? How about when we find out about Elizabeth? And Christian? Of those sweet little children having to be sent away from their parents? Or the dreadful treatment of the Todt prisoners?

    Laugh? Juliet throwing the pot at that vile reporter. Almost anything Isola says. I haven't got my book at hand (lent it out), but there are so many times I laughed out loud.

    Beef? Why is that people who are religious and consider themselves to be Christians are so often stereotyped as harsh, narrow minded, and clueless to basic human emotions?

  6. Thank you for your comment! Such a great book.