Friday, January 9, 2009

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

I just finished reading this book and really enjoyed it. It has all the elements I love in a book: fun characters, engaging storyline, entertaining, and at least somewhat educational.

Normally I consider using letters to tell the story kind of gimmicky but in this book it works very well because that is how the main character, an author named Juliet, gets to know the quirky inhabitants of Guernsey, which is an island in the English Channel. It takes place in 1946, just after WWII. Juliet is a writer who wrote a popular series of articles during the war. She is casting about, trying to find a subject for her new book, when she receives a letter from one of the islanders who happens to own a book that used to belong to Juliet. From him, the letter-writer, we learn of a literary society that was formed on the island during the war when it was occupied by the Germans. The letters fly back and forth between Juliet, her editor, her best friend, her suitor, and several inhabitants of the island. Fun Stuff! I was not aware that this island had been occupied by the Germans, or that any English citizens had suffered as they had. Some of the war descriptions are a little gruesome but not overly graphic, and there is some mild language. There is also a child who is born out-of-wedlock, the affair is between an islander and a German officer. The resultant birth ends up being something that unites the islanders when the mother is taken to a prison camp and they must care for the child. There is not a lot of emphasis put on the affair however. Unfortunately it isn't portrayed as something that is wrong but rather something that is understandable. Other than those few things, it is very clean. Loved it!

1 comment:

Andy, Lori and the Gang said...

Kimi, I had heard about this book and then saw it on your list-so I read it. I loved it. Definitely a favorite! Thanks for the suggestion. Where do you find time to do all this reading? Also, have you read the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency? Those are really good.