Friday, January 29, 2016

"The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society"

A friend loaned me her copy of this book, which she's read for a book club. I'm a sucker for anything about those channel islands during World War II. Did you ever watch the mini-series, Island at War? Loved that one too. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was a blazing fast read, and very fun.

First off, its format. It's epistolary, entirely composed of letters written among the dozen or so people who play a part in the plot. Juliet, a young woman, new writer, just survived the war in London, is the protagonist. While looking for a new book idea, she stumbles upon Guernsey and falls in love with the quirky people there.

I won't spoil anything for you, but it is a fun read. The author worked for years to complete it, compelled and urged by friends and family. In the end, she was too ill to finish the final revisions/rewritings, and her niece did this piece of work for her.

Voice is such an important thing. The author did a good job generally of distinguishing among the characters using their writing voice. This is no easy task; most books really only need one voice, the voice of the author or of a single character. I congratulate her on mastering this challenge. Only one other character seemed to have a voice too similar to Juliet's, in my opinion.

Here's another book to add to your to-do list!


  1. Loved that book! I read it some years ago. It was funny/sad/happy/fraught All those things and more.

  2. I, too, absolutely adored this book. I'm really find of the letters narrative technique anyway so to adore the story so much anyway was a double bonus!!Xx

  3. I loved it, too! I often re-read favorites, and this one is worth a second look. Another must-read about this era is Home Fires (by Julie Summers). (Its other title is Jambusters.) If you follow Home Fires on PBS, you'll see how it enriches that series. The home front was important in WWII; this book shows how women helped in the British war effort under terrible circumstances. Excellent read!

  4. I've never read it but listened to audio and LOVED IT!! It was fabulous, listening to all the accents. It's been a long, long while since the USA has had any devastating hardship and most can't imagine what it would have been like during WWII in UK. Or, Ireland during the Troubles, or...fill in the blank. Anyway, it's a GREAT book.

  5. Sounds good. I'm going to suggest it to my book club. Thanks.

  6. We read this a few years ago for book club and really enjoyed it.


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