Saturday, May 5, 2012

April Book Club: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

"We read books, talked books, argued over books,
and became dearer and dearer to one another.
Other Islanders asked to join us,
and our evenings together became
bright, lively times--
we could almost forget,
now and then,
the darkness outside" (p. 51).
The year is 1946. The second World War has just ended and author Juliet Ashton is touring to promote her collection of humorous essays written during the war. But she can't figure out what to write next and everything seems a bit sad and broken. Until she receives an unexpected from a Mr. Dawsey Adams, a farmer who lives on Guernsey Island. His simple request piques her curiosity and his mention of the literary and potato peel pie society that started with an illegal roast pig quickly has her writing for more information. Thus begins a long and lively correspondence between Juliet and the various members of the society. As their story unfolds and Juliet learns of their life under German occupation, her own spirits are revived and she finds friendship, inspiration, and love in the most unlikely of places. Filled with humor and heart this is a story about booklovers of all kinds and the power that books have to help us through the darkest times.

You know you want to own this book!
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We aren't promoting any particular store, just encouraging you to shop in your local brick and mortars! Keep them in business :)

What we thought:

Naomi Ruth: First off: I absolutely love Annie Barrows. Second off: I don't know why it took me so long to read this book. My sister, the gorgeous Rebecca, told me I would love it, but I didn't believe her because I have this problem where I assume adult books are boring and awful. Oh! How wrong I was. I laughed, I cried, it moved me. I most definitely want to go visit Guernsey now, though, in some ways, I kinda feel like I already did. Shaffer and Barrows make the island come alive and you almost feel like you've already been there. I loved this book with every potato in the world.

Jenn N: Like Naomi, I was also reluctant to read this book but I am so glad that I forged ahead and read it anyway. It took a few pages to adjust to the unique writing style as this story is told through letters. However, you're quickly sucked in and are soon immersed in this warm group of friends who survived WWII through friendship, faith, and a love of reading.

Rebecca T: I fell in love with this book a few years ago and have subtly and not so subtly been begging people to read it ever since. I love the epistolary style and it is done very well; each character has a unique voice that just makes you fall in love with them (or utterly despise them as the case may be). This really is a story about the power of books and their ability to comfort and even change lives. It is laugh out loud funny, but also so poignantly sad that I dare you to read it without shedding a few silent tears. And I was devastated to learn that Mary Ann Shaffer actually passed away during the writing of this book because it means that there won't be any more forthcoming. This is a beautiful book with a little bit of everything for everybody.

Next Month: We'll be reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Read along with us and come back next month to weigh in on our discussion!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This book was amazing! I immediately connected with the characters (which i dont normally). And i knew about some about the occupation of the channel islands, so that made this book even more interesting. Sometimes the letter format is hard to get into but this book got me at the first chapter :)