Friday, October 16, 2009

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Shaffer, Mary Ann and Annie Barrows. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Thorndike, Maine: Center Point, 2008.

In the aftermath of World War II, author Juliet Ashton receives an intriguing letter from Dawsey Adams who lives on the island of Guernsey off the British coast. They meet (on paper) by pure chance. Dawsey had in his possession a book that once belonged to Juliet.

They begin to exchange letters and Juliet learns about the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. She thinks the society would make a good book. Her letters to Dawsey continue, and she begins to correspond with other members of the society. Juliet's interest in Guernsey and its inhabitants grows until she decides she has to visit the island. Juliet has found more than the idea for her next book. She has found friends, a home, and love.

What I thought: I've been meaning to read this book for quite some time. I wasn't disappointed. The book deals with a period (aftermath of WWII) about which I've read little. The characters are all unique with individual personalities. The intimacy achieved through this collection of letters is astounding. I never knew letters could be so revealing. I've been a fan of epistolary novels ever since I read Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster (8th grade) and Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith (college junior). This book is another gem in the category.

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