Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Hello All!

Wow, what a wonderful book! I have read reviews that compares this book with 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff, and I can definitely see that comparison. Not so much with the bookstore part, but with the time period, just after World War II in England, and with the knowledge people have of English literature.

Sorry to start off by drifting into a tangent :). The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is about how a group of friends lived through WWII on the Channel Island of Guernsey occupied by the Germans. A few were walking home after curfew one night, and when confronted by the Germans, invented the Literary Society. The potato peel pie was added as it was refreshment at their gatherings.

Juliet Ashton, author of a series of newspaper columns during the war, is in need of a new idea for a book or articles, and researches how people kept themselves in a positive frame of mind during the war. She is contacted by Dawsey Adams, one of the members of the Guernsey Literary Society, and learns of their stories as each member corresponds with her with their individual story. Juliet's relationship with this wonderful group evolves throughout the book, continuing to be told through letters. People were wonderful letter writers then.

I admit to not knowing anything about the Channel Islands overall before reading this book, though I know I have heard of Guernsey and Jersey before. I enjoyed the historical information I received while reading this book.

In addition to 84 Charing Cross Road, I connect this book with the mystery series shown on PBS, "Foyle's War". I am in the middle or so of watching episodes of this series, and I have a clearer picture of how things were during that time period in England. Both 84 Charing Cross Road and "Foyle's War" are good complements to The Guernsey Literary Society. Another wonderful book about book lovers with eccentric characters is The Bachelor Brothers' Bed and Breakfast by Bill Richardson (soon to be a Friday's Forgotten Books blog post).

This is such a wonderful, enjoyable book--I encourage everyone to at least give it a try. I will be purchasing this book, as I borrowed this copy from the library; this is one I definitely want to own and revisit!

Happy Reading!

PS Any mistakes in the above post re: plot points are mine--I returned the book before writing this post.


Jen said...

I have this book on request from the library. There was a bit of a wait for it, but everyone I've heard from absolutely loved it. I'm looking foward to it!

Patti O said...

Very much worth waiting for--I had to wait awhile too. Enjoy!!!