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

The story of this funny named book revolves around Guernsey the island that was occupied during WWII by the Germans, its residents, and Juliet, our heroine, a column writer turned book writer from London. By turn of fate, Juliet was first contacted by Dawsey, a resident of Guernsey, about a book that was found. Their written conversations lead to stories about Guernsey Literary Society and more correspondents with other residents of Guernsey who fascinate Juliet.

I’m not usually drawn to feel-good books, which I classified this as (before and after reading), nor anything to do with war. At the end I picked it up because I was looking for a good audiobook. I thought the epistolary format was just perfect for audiobook, it won The Audie award for Fiction (2009), and of course, it has been read widely around the blogosphere. The last straw was when Michael Kindness gushed about it several times.

I had mixed feelings about the narrators. Juliette’s narrator was really good, but the rest of the women sounded very old (like a bunch of grandmas when the characters are not!) and the male narrators sounded a bit stiff (might be just because I have listened to Andrew Sachs reading and he’s so awesome), and again, old. It’s probably just me but I had some difficulties to distinguish the voice of the large number of characters.

Since the story revolves around a literary society (or book club, if you may), there are many references to books and reading, which I found enjoyable. I was more attached to the heartbreaking stories rather than the fairy-tale like, both in which the book contains. Recommended for people who are interested about minor occupation in gentle non-dark way and those who love conversations about books and reading (don’t you all?).


2008, 8 hours

Delicious alternate covers: (Right is Australian cover. Left?)

Challenges
Women Unbound–reason: a few strong main female characters (book #2), Herding Cats II (book #2), Reading the World

Also reviewed by
Dolce Bellezza | Rebecca Reads | Farm Lane Books Blog | kiss a cloudSuko’s Notebook | Serendipity | Sarah Miller: Reading, Writing, MusingRipple Effects | One Swede ReadThe Reading Life | Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’? | A Guy’s Moleskin NotebookBending Bookshelf | Maw Books Blog

I’m sure I missed tons of you!

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16 thoughts on “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

  1. Pingback: Women Unbound: a Book Challenge | Books of Mee

    1. mee Post author

      LOL. My comments were for the audiobook version though, so the paper book might have a different effect ;).

      Reply
    1. mee Post author

      Yea absolutely. For the longest time I could only remember Potato Society (enough to get the right book on the library or anywhere on the web). I can only remember the whole title after reading the book. To be honest, I wasn’t sure about the book too and I wouldn’t have read it if not for audiobook.

      Reply
  2. Mel u

    I really enjoyed the book a lot-it is a “feel good book” which accounts for as lot of its popularity-I liked how it showed the impact of reading on the lives of the characters and I learned a lot about the history of the Island of Guernsey during WWII

    Reply
    1. mee Post author

      Well there IS some romance in the book, but not the main point. It’s a safe choice, everybody seems to like it :)

      Reply

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