Skip to content

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

2010/06/11

This book was extremely popular when it was first published, and as with all popular items, the library I work at was deluged with requests. It’s an odd thing, working at a library, sometimes you get so tired of fielding requests for one particular item when there are so many other deserving books that don’t get checked out because Oprah hasn’t mentioned them or they haven’t been highly marketed. So I often have a certain cynicism towards best sellers and other popular items. This book, despite its unwieldy name, is one of those rare, lovely, well-deserving novels that has also managed to capture the popular eye.

In post-WWII, Juliet Ashton, an author who has become well-known for her popular newspaper column and book “Izzy Bickerstaff Goes to War,” has decided that she does not want to write about rabbits for her next book, and instead finds herself searching for another topic to draw her attention. Through letters between herself, her editor, best friend, and a stray note from a stranger living on Guernsey, the readers begin to see Juliet as a humorous, caring young woman who adores the written word and those who ply it well. In a letter to the new owner of a used book she once owned, Juliet writes, “I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true. Because there is nothing I would rather do than rummage through bookshops.” A woman after a librarian’s heart! Through the letters, we come to know Juliet and those she corresponds with, especially the residents of Guernsey who form the titular society.

Since the novel is told through letters, it takes a little time to understand exactly who the characters are and how they relate to one another; each writer has a voice of their own. The pace is brisk and engaging, and so though this is a general market fiction book, I would also recommend it to young adult readers with an interest in historical fiction or epistolary novels. For some reason, I also think that fans of L. M. Montgomery would particularly enjoy this novel — Juliet has a particularly “Emily of New Moon”-ish voice.

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: