Book Reviews

Book Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows

2728527  Published:  July 29th 2008 by The Dial Press (274 pages)

Thoughts: There have been many mixed reviews for this book and after reading it for myself, I must say that I’m still unsure of my feelings for The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Goodreads Summary: “ I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….
As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.
Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.
Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

Before you get the impression that this will be a negative review, I didn’t hate it. On the contrary the plot sounds absolutely fantastic. My biggest fault though lied with the construction of the story. This book is completely set up in letters, and the readers are supposed to feel a part of the story by reading these “personal” letters between the characters. I was fine for about 100 pages but soon found that all the voices tended to blend together. I’m sure that wasn’t the author’s intention.

If however, you just look at the history aspect of the novel, it’s quite enjoyable. Personally, I would have never heard of the island of Guernsey if it weren’t for this book. That along with the characters was enough to keep me invested and I felt that I needed to complete every page. Honestly, It wasn’t in any way a long read. I have no doubt many avid readers could finish this book in one sitting. – A large part of this novel surprisingly focuses on Juliet’s relationship with a few men she meets. I believe that some part of us wants to find love no matter what age and that’s exactly how our main character felt. That common feeling connects the reader to Juliet.

As for my final thoughts; I wasn’t completely in love with this read, but If you happen to come across it by all means check it out. I think it will appeal to some more than others solely based on how different it is. I hate that this review ended up being kind of sort but sometimes you don’t have much to say. Over all it was a pleasant read.

Next Review: The Giver by Lois Lowry

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One thought on “Book Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows

  1. I couldn’t get through this one so it really helped me to read your review and get my thoughts in order. I tried to read it a while ago. I can’t wait to read your review for The Giver.

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