THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY
Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Details: Published July 29th 2008 by The Dial Press (first published 2007)
Hardcover, 274 pages
Placement in Pile: Top Picks
Summary: “ I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….
As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.
Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.
Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.
I know this isn't YA, but I had to review this book. I know I read a LOT of adult literature as a teen, so I feel okay about recommending one. Especially this one. I've been hearing people say they loved this book for a LONG time. I was so busy reading YA though that I kept putting it off. Then it got picked for a book club that I'm supposed to facilitate, and I figured I'd better read it! ;-)
It is told entirely through letters, which I didn't realize at first. I kept waiting to get to the "story." But it is done so well, soon you don't even care that everything is letters. The voice is fabulous, I love Juliet's witticisms and engrossing "letter writing" skills. It made me long to receive some really fabulous, long-awaited letters in the mail (instead of just quick little notes on email). I also learned so much about WWII that I didn't know. I didn't realize that the islands in the channel were occupied during the war.
If you are looking for an easy, sometimes hilarious, always engrossing read that has some depth and meat to it, without getting too dark, this book is for you!