Reader reviews and comments on The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, plus links to write your own review.

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
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  • First Published:
    Jul 2008, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2009, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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There are currently 36 reader reviews for The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
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Betsey (07/27/08)

Gets better and better
Initially I had difficulty engaging in this, an epistolary novel that takes place in the years following WW II. I had difficulty giving it a context. It begins at a place that feels like the middle of things (as if I missed something), but then eventually gathers the far-flung bits of fabric that make up a life and the texture of many lives.

The story is like a tapestry; it starts wit a solitary bit of material and then stitches an epic microcosm of life on the Channel Island of Geurnsey during the second World War. As the tale unfolded, I fell in love with the eccentric, rowdy, and often ribald cast of characters and my heart bled and broke more than a few times, also, over the beautiful comedy that emerged from the tragedy of war.

As I kept reading, the story strengthened and became deeper and enfolded me completely in its tale of hope in a hopeless situation and endurance in an almost unendurable time of German occupation and starvation, a story of courage, dignity and integrity in a time of moral ambiguity..

These rural characters are unsung heroes. I feel like I met each and every one of them personally and that they touched me in all the vital places where love resides. Additionally, it is a history lesson of a place that time will now not forget.
Power Reviewer Madeline (07/27/08)

A Love Affair...
This whole novel is a love affair of books and reading, of letters and friendship, set against the background of war and its aftermath. It is also a reminder of how perspectives change when friends and enemies are forced together by circumstance. A heartwarming, enjoyable read!
Molly (07/27/08)

Irrepressible human spirit
The daily privations and loss during a war time occupation are held at bay by generosity and ingenuity resulting in a clandestine feast of contraband pork. The book club hastily formed as an excuse for breaking Nazi curfew becomes a source of strength, courage and hope for the members struggling to survive the war, and results in a journey home for the journalist who visits them after the war.
Patricia (07/27/08)

Interesting History, Unsatisfactory Ending
First of all, I sat up till 2 in the morning reading and finishing this book. The story it tells about the inhabitants of Guernsey (one of the UK Channel Islands) during WWII is fascinating. The first-person/letter-writing format carries the story along in a way that straight narrative might not have.

However, at some point the book becomes a romance novel, which sort of trivializes the history contained in the first part. There are two stories here - the one about the island inhabitants during German occupation (title of the book), and the one about the main character (recipient of all the letters), which deteriorates into a silly romance at the end.

Three quarters of the book held my riveted attention, and I appreciated the addition of humor. The last quarter disappointed me terribly. The ending was happy, but the story it tells is inane.

I recommend the first part for its historical perspective. I cannot recommend the last part.
Shirley (07/27/08)

My highest recommendation
Having to say goodbye to the people in this book is like losing close friends. The format of a book written in letters put me off at first glance thinking characters could never be developed properly in this manner. Was I wrong, I loved this book, loved the people I met in its pages. Never a dull sequence, never without wit and reverence, one becomes kin to these people and experience the joys and sorrows along with them. The descriptive quality of the writing makes you want to visit the very island itself and to even believe you could walk up to one of the cottages and know the person living within. Each letter writer has their own impression of what is happening and each has a unique way of describing detail. I found myself dreading each turn of the page because it brought me closer to the end. Alas, it is over and I miss them already.
Maxine (07/27/08)

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society
This little book is a gem! The authors take readers through the gamut of emotions from laugh-out-loud to lump-in-the-throat; you care about the finely drawn characters because they are so real. Book clubs should have wonderful discussions about this story.
Gwendolyn (07/27/08)

Lacking Substance
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a lighthearted epistolary novel about an author who travels to Guernsey, a British island in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy. The protagonist, Juliet Ashton, is a writer with a warm personality and an adventurous spirit. As Juliet researches her next book about the German occupation of Guernsey during WWII, she befriends the quirky members of a book group on the island. Although The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is charming at times, this book is mostly lacking in substance. The characters are formulaic, and the plot is entirely predictable. A quick and forgettable read.
Linda (07/27/08)

I want to join this club.
This book is a true delight - an innovative way to present a story without dialogue. I absolutely loved it and loved the people. Although I pretty much knew where the book was going to go, it was a wonderful ride getting there, with joyous stops along the way - and a few twists and turns. I would join the society in a heartbeat, and this is one of the books I would recommend to the rest of the members. You will love this book, and the characters will be your best friends. You will miss them when you come to the end.

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