Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Book: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (GLPPPS)

Authors: Mary Ann Schaeffer and Annie Barrows

Style: Epistolary (Letters)

My review: A very charming tale set amidst the atrocities of World War II. The book transports you to Guernsey during WWII and introduces you to some very interesting characters that you get so acquainted with that you actually miss them when you put the book down! (not very brief I know!)

My rating: 5 Stars

1. A book set during World War II

2. A book written in Epistolary form (as letters between various people)

3. A book that received rave reviews from all the book bloggers that have read it until now

4. Winner of Washington post’s Best Book 2008 award

5. A book about a very unique book club with an even more unique name (The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society)

Any one of the above criteria would have made me pick the book up instantly. Seriously! When I saw that the GLPPPS actually satisfied all five, I just HAD to read the book. And when I placed a request for the book in my local library, every passing day was filled with a sweet anticipation mixed with a slightly bitter anxiety that I wouldn’t like the book as much as I wanted to. I really needn’t have worried. The GLPPPS was absolutely amazing and I enjoyed every page of it!

During the World War II, Germany occupied a small, relatively unknown, island in the English Channel – Guernsey. Guernsey and its inhabitants buckled under the occupation – no food, no freedom, nothing! One evening, while a bunch of Guernsey inhabitants were returning to their respective residences way past curfew time they found themselves face to face with German authorities. Unable to mention the true reason for their staying outside after curfew (a gathering to partake of a delicious feast of roast pork from a pig that escaped German inventory), the group came up with one that the authorities would have no issues with – a literary society: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society! To validate the claim just in case the authorities decided to drop in and check on them, books were bought and discussions held. Soon, however, the members of the society turned to books to distract them from the agonies of German occupation.

In a completely unrelated part of the world, a writer Juliet Ashton corresponds with her best friend and her brother who is Juliet’s publicist. She is on a tour to promote her book which is a collection of her newspaper columns “Izzy Biggerstaff goes to war”, which had a humorous take on the war. Juliet is in search of a serious topic to write about when un expectedly she receives a letter in the mail from a Dawsey Adams of Guernsey. Being a member of the GLPPPS, he had fallen in love with the writing of Charles Lamb. He owned a used copy of the book and had taken the liberty to write to the previous owner hoping that she would direct him to more books by the same author. This seemingly innocent letter gives rise to a series of letters between Juliet Ashton and the inhabitants of Guernsey.

I can’t tell you how much I loved this book. It is easily one of the best books I have ever read. The writing is beautiful and immediately transports you to the post world war period. The characters are very well defined and so real! Even though the book is just a collection of letters, each voice is unique and adds more charm to the novel. The writing is very descriptive and paints vivid pictures to portray the beauty of Guernsey even for those who have never heard of its existence before reading this book.

IF you haven’t already read the zillion raving reviews for this book, I hope reading mine will make you want to pick this book up. I totally recommend this book to anyone to likes to read. There’s something in it for every reader!

The book has its own charming website. where you can find more information about the authors, the book, a recipe for potato peel pie, etc. Some of the interesting sections are: Books mentioned in Guernsey, Other Epistolary novels, etc – good resources for those looking for another interesting read!

Have you already read “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”? What did you think of it?


Joy said...

This is a favorite of mine, as well! It's definitely a keeper!

bermudaonion said...

I loved this book too. I just hated when it ended.

Gwendolyn B. said...

I'm in love with this book as well. Definitely one to reread and share! Glad you liked it too.

Dar said...

I just knew you'd beat me to reading this one. I'll come back when I've read it, I just wanted to see your rating. Must be good to get a 5.

S. Krishna said...

Great review, and yet another positive one of this book! I really need to read it.

Trish said...

You definitely sold me!! I think I'm going to read this one during the read-a-thon, but I'm not sure if I can wait that long.

softdrink said...

I adored this book. But how did I miss the fact that there is a website?!? Thanks for the link!

Brittanie said...

I loved this book too. It was on my favorites list for last year. :)

Anna said...

Glad to see you loved this book as much as I did. I hope it's okay that I linked to your review on War Through the Generations.

Diary of an Eccentric

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