The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
I've read a handful of mixed reviews of this books. It seems to polarize people who laud it as literary genius or criticized for being predictable tripe. I think that how you interpret the book depends on what you were looking for. I didn't expect to be blown away with a new form of literary genius never before experienced by man, which is good because I wasn't. I did hope to be entertained, amused, moved and touched, which is good because I was.
For me, this book had several elements that very much predisposed me to favor it; post World War II setting, quirky characters, spunky heroines, and romantic quandaries that result in a happy ending at last. For a few sparking autumn afternoons of back porch and park reading it was the absolute perfect choice of books to read, filled with easy places to pick up and put down, funny and astute observations and characters who endured more hardship than any human being ought and still maintained their humor and their dignity.
I am quite pleased to have spent my time reading this pleasant and uplifting little novel, and I encourage you to do the same.
From Publishers Weekly
The letters comprising this small charming novel begin in 1946, when single, 30-something author Juliet Ashton (nom de plume Izzy Bickerstaff) writes to her publisher to say she is tired of covering the sunny side of war and its aftermath. When Guernsey farmer Dawsey Adams finds Juliet's name in a used book and invites articulate—and not-so-articulate—neighbors to write Juliet with their stories, the book's epistolary circle widens, putting Juliet back in the path of war stories. The occasionally contrived letters jump from incident to incident—including the formation of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society while Guernsey was under German occupation—and person to person in a manner that feels disjointed. But Juliet's quips are so clever, the Guernsey inhabitants so enchanting and the small acts of heroism so vivid and moving that one forgives the authors (Shaffer died earlier this year) for not being able to settle on a single person or plot. Juliet finds in the letters not just inspiration for her next work, but also for her life—as will readers. (Aug.)
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