Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society


I will admit that looking at the title that was posted on the Book Club's page, I was a little skeptical about what kind of book had been picked. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society is quiet a mouthfull! Well, that is how the main character, Juliet Ashton, felt when she first heard about the little group of people that had decided to name their book club this long, outragious name! And just like Juliet, I was also very pleasantly surprised by what I discovered.

During World War II, times were hard, spirits were low, and companionship was very hard to find. On the secluded island of Guernsey, all these things were what defined life. Until someone got their hands on illegal food and a group of islanders come together to celebrate, very quietly, a random bit of good fortune. But when they are leaving and are discovered by the officials they come up with a cover for their nighttime activity: their book club meeting had run late. Before anyone knew what was happening there was ACTUALLY a book club forming before their eyes!

This is the story that Juliet discovers through letters written by a man who had managed to get his hands on a book that had once belonged to her. He had written her to find out if she had any other suggestions and to make his own suggestion, that she write an article on his little book club for the post war newspapers. And that is exactly what she does. Suddenly she finds herself friends with these strangers through letters, and finally a face to face meeting.

This book is about the little oddities of life, the random happinstance that leads our lives in directions we never could have imagined, and they way those paths can lead us to wonderful discoveries! I really loved this book. It was so completely random (other than the fact that it was about another book club) and such a good read. The reader gets to discover everything about the characters that choose to confide in Juliet as well as about her as she opens up to these strangers. I truely enjoyed so many of the characters as Juliet began to enjoy them, and hate the ones she hated. The writing was great as the entire novel was written in letters, yet everything is done perfectly since Juliet shares certain aspects of the story with certain people, making it realistic.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. It allows the reader to see a side of the war that is not often visited, the harsh realities of bystanders, that is slightly tempered by the passage of time.  And it shows how small the world is and how when people come together anything can be overcome. It was overall just a great read, one that I am so excited to now have in my possession. Go read it!

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