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Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society




This afternoon I finished reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Yes, I know, it came out three years ago and was a best-seller for the next two years. Somehow I neglected to read it all this time, and only picked it up on a whim as I walked by it in the library last week.

The fact that I am writing about it here is an indication of just how much I enjoyed reading it. The story, told through a series of letters, is extraordinarily adept in managing several different voices, in cleverly carrying one major story and interweaving several minor stories over the course of the book. That is its technical merit. It is one of the best written books I've read in ages.

From the point of emotional enjoyment, the story soars. It is by turns a charming, funny, love-story and a heart-felt retelling of the tragic consequences of occupation during World War II. The story is so satisfying that when I read the final page, I immediately wanted to turn back to the first page and read it again.

Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, the authors, have created a book that I believe will be enjoyed for a very long time. I hope that it will become a book that is incorporated into high school reading lists, so that its longevity will be perpetuated for years to come.

Reading this book reminds me that one of the greatest gifts of being a writer is the rare chance to create a story so memorable, and touching, that you are able to create imaginary worlds that are so striking, that they can make readers laugh and cry and wish that they could actually meet the characters in real life. That is the impact that The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society had on me.

If you haven't read it, run, don't walk, to your nearest bookseller or library and begin reading.

Comments

Josh Healy said…
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John said…
Hi Suzanne
I linked to this via Elizabeth Harper's 'Gifts of the Journey'.
By an amazing coincidence I sailed from Cornwall to Guernsey two weeks ago with my brother, while Elizabeth was in America.
You may know that all the Channel Islands were occupied by the Germans in WW2. Some residents opted to stay (most of Jersey and Sark) whilst at the other extreme, the people Alderney were evacuated to Weymouth in June 1940 and remained there for five years. It is a fascinating part of the story of the Second World War.
Regards
John (Elizabeth's husband)

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