I cannot for the life of me remember how I came across Mary Ann Shaffer’s The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Not a lot of people seem to have read it but it does have splendid ratings on Goodreads. However, that is not why I began reading it.
I have this habit with books, as with people. If I don’t like it after I’ve begun, I don’t force myself to carry on with it. I do try to get back to it at some point, making an earnest attempt to complete it. I read about fifty to seventy pages and if I like it, I read on. If I don’t, well … you know. I was reading Guernsey on the Kindle and even before I knew it, I was half-way through and was in love with the protagonist, Juliet Ashton – who is in many parts is like me. She likes the men in her favourite books more than the men she goes out with, she still can’t figure out what she wants from life, she loves her books so much that she breaks off her engagement when she realizes her finance has usurped her bookshelves. Ashton is introduced to a book club, born out of a lie to German soldiers, in Guernsey through a man, Dawsey Adams, who has come across her name written in a book by Charles Lamb. And thus begins a flurry of letters – which is in fact the novel (yes, the novel is an epistolary) – from the members of the book club to Juliet and her replies to them and her friend and publisher, Sidney.
In parts, the novel subtly talks about the torture in the Concentration Camps in Germany, the German Occupation and the transition that is hoped for in the Channel Islands. You can see the characters trying to come to terms with the War, and in their own way. Through reading. The book discusses many books, and many authors and there is a moment with Oscar Wilde in it and while you’re turning the pages, you may go whoaa!
It’s a quick read, possibly a great book to carry during a trip somewhere or even sit with a cup of beaten coffee and a box of Oreos, while you devour Juliet’s wonderful journey into Guernsey, her love-affair with writing and finding love.
I’ll give this book four of out five stars.
At the moment, I’m reading The Remains of the Day by Ishiguro and loving it.