BANG Book Review – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

… By Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. The GGG book club liked it!  Some even loved it.

It’s the story, told through letters post-WWII, of a woman who becomes fascinated by the stories of the German occupation of the island of Guernsey, and goes to the island to learn more.  We all found the story interesting, not having known much about Guernsey and not having even realized that it was occupied during the war. Some thought the letter format was gimmicky, some liked it (I was one of the latter).

Some Things I Appreciated in this book:

  • The reminder of how fortunate some of us are to live in places that are not war-torn. You can’t have too much gratitude.
  • A very intriguing mix of lighthearted and heartrending storytelling… characters with many facets that remind me of people I’ve met – and that whole “everybody’s got a story that would break your heart” phenomenon. People have been through things you’d never guess.
  • Delectable descriptions of Guernsey. I bet 97% of people who read this book wish they could take the next boat and arrive on the island.
  • Virtuosic character development. With a few deft strokes of the phrase-brush, the authors have created vivid and endearing characters that I cared about right away – which is key for me. If I’m going to like a book, I have to care about the characters. I especially loved the select details shared about the little girl, Kit – not lots of them, but so skilfully written that she jumps to life in your mind.
  • Seamless co-authorship. I don’t know which parts were written by Schaffer and which by Barrows (definitely read the afterword about them), and I don’t need to know. They did a great job.
  • A satisfying ending. And I ain’t sayin’ nothin’.

So, overall: not the most poignant or dramatic or romantic book I’ve ever read, but a gratifying mix of all those elements, especially for such a quick, easy read. Recommended!

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