The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – A Review
Juliet Ashton is a successful writer in need of a subject for a book. As letters from unknown people arrive in her doorstep, she is introduced to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. She meets new friends through hand written letters. She learns about the German Occupation in the Channel Islands and the stories of bravery and pain and suffering of the German soldiers, the Islanders, the Todt workers, and of a woman named Elizabeth McKenna.
Reading the book transported me into a world I never experienced and I hope I will never live to see. Shaffer and Barrows is the perfect duo to create the perfect characters and you know when the characters are perfect when to you, they seemed real.
As I try to reorganize my mind, I cannot think of a good start to describe this book perfectly. I think, I cannot give a review able to bring justice to such a book. Reading it was life feeling the wind pass by. A very quick read that didn’t seem like I needed some deep thinking. It’s a book that requires just a deeper feeling and understanding. Reading about war is not like eating pie. I doubt you could eat right after even.
The Society is a group of people with such odd combination of personality. With the letters they send to Juliet, I could understand what pushed her to take a boat and ride to Guernsey, see they island and the people itself – the stories that are about to be told, the experiences of the people in the Occupation, the Society itself. I believe Juliet finished her book splendidly. If she can write such humorous and entertaining letters, how much more a whole thick book? Now, that would be easy as pie.
There were more pressing points that I couldn’t get out of my mind. The German soldiers were pitiful and I think, I pitied them more than the people. As the Red Cross ship arrived and unloaded the heaps of boxes containing food supplies and all thing important, they never stole or took away anything for themselves but instead scraped whatever flour or sugar that may fell on the ground with their spoons. They killed cats and dogs or steal on vegetable gardens or knock for food. Everything was scanty.
One of the characters stood out among others and that was Elizabeth. She was so brave that I doubt my confidence already. If she was a real person, she would be part of history just for her courage. Do you have one? She stood up for people she barely knows, for people she can ignore or leave behind but she did not. Can you do that?
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society may be about the Occupation but it wasn’t gruesome or violent as you would think. The suffering told and described clearly might want you to look away for a moment but you couldn’t put the book down. Shaffer started the book well and Barrows ended it with magic. You would think the book may drag, confusing, or uninteresting but it wasn’t.
It all started with letters, turned to friendship, then a closer relationship, and ended in what else? Marriage. Romance didn’t take the center stage here but for me it did. It was something so unforgettable, asked in a the most odd way and ended most beautifully.
I shall keep this sacredly.
Rating: 5 out of 5!