Titel: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Author: Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Content: It’s 1946. Juliet Ashton, a 32-year-old writer, has found a certain recognition through her light-hearted column for the Spectator which lifted the spirits of her readers during WW2, but she can’t think what to write next. But then Dawsey Adams writes to her from Guernsey – by chance he’s acquired a book Juliet once owned – and, emboldened by their mutual love of books, they begin a correspondence. Dawsey belongs to the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and as Juliet investigates the strange-named reading group, soon she stumbles upon a whole number of islanders eager to write and tell her of their experiences of the German occupation of Guernsey. Entranced by her new friends, Juliet decides to visit the island to meet them properly.
Opinion: I first encountered this book in 2012 or 2013. Somebody ordered it but never came to pick it up and since it got dog-eared while waiting for his new owner it became part of my section of the bookstore. I love books written in letters. There is something intimate about it. Like being part of somebody’s life even if these people might not be real. I immediately put the book on the wishlist and waited for a chance to buy the dog-eared copy on the shelf. I sneaked peeks. I read whole letters. I silently congratulated the authors to this awesome book title. But then someone bought the dog-eared copy before I had the chance and I forgot about the book. New books came along and somehow it wasn’t a priority anymore. Just a part of my wishlist. Until six years later. A few weeks ago.
Okay, thanks for taking this trip down memory lane with me. I’m happy to finally have bought it. As aforementioned the book is mostly written in letters. Correspondence between the young author Juliet whose first book was just published and a variety of lovely characters. Just after the war Juliet’s book takes off but now she’s looking for inspiration for a new book and finds it in the letters people from Guernsey – a channel island occupied by the Germans during the war – who tell her their story.
I loved Juliet. And not only because her favourite flowers are White Lilac just like mine or the fact that she apparently wrote a biography of Anne Brontë whose book “Agnes Grey” I’m currently reading. I loved how funny and lighthearted she was but still showed a big amount of empathy and intelligence and compassion. I just plain liked her. She’s the kind of person you’d want as a friend.
I liked the other characters as well. How they talked about their struggels during the war and their love for Elizabeth and how hard and simple their lives are at the same time. They were all so different but all really lovely even the obnoxious ones. Dawsey, Eli, Kit, Amelie – I liked them all. And Sidney of course. Only sometimes I mixed up some of the men but that was usually resolved quickly.
The book can go from funny and lovely to sad or horrifying in a few words. It entertained me but also taught me things I never would have thought of. If you can’t tell by now – I’m very much in awe and in love with this book. I love the characters, the setting, the style and I’ll gladly wave this book in front of your faces till the end of time. The only regret I have is that I didn’t read it sooner. It’s definitely a highlight of my year and probably my life.