Tuesday, June 16, 2009

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

Published by Dial Press, a Random House imprint

Rating: 5 stars

In 1946, author Juliet Ashton receives a letter from Dawsey Adams, who found her name in a used book. From then on, they begin an interesting correspondence and Juliet learns about Dawsey's small town of Guernsey and the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Other members of this society begin writing to Juliet and recounting their war stories in the hopes that she will be able to write a book about their experiences. Narrated solely through letters between all the characters, readers learn all about the small island of Guernsey and its interesting inhabitants.

This book has been incredibly well-received by so many and I'm happy to say that I am certainly among those who loved it. While it did take me a little while to become accustomed to a whole novel being written in letter format, I really enjoyed its uniqueness. There is something really charming about each of the letters and in particular, Juliet's witty banter and playful writing were such a joy to read. Not to mention the funny telegrams that Juliet sends, showing us her great sense of humour and spunk.

It's amazing that all it takes is a series of short letters to fall in love with a whole town. Each one of the characters touched my heart and I really felt connected to them. They each have their own idiosyncrasies and tales of hardship, but together they represent the best of humanity and show us the power of friendship.

Annie Barrows is Mary Ann Shaffer's niece, who was asked to help finish writing the book after Mary Ann's health began to worsen. Unfortunately, Mary Ann Shaffer has since passed away and though she wasn't able to see the final product or the book's impact on its fans, her dream to "write a book that someone would like enough to publish" was certainly realized.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society has recently been released in trade paperback, so now there's even more reason to go out and buy a copy of this book!

BIG THANKS to Jessica and Random House of Canada for my review copy


Unknown said...

I live in deadly fear that someone in my book club will choose this book. In fact, I'm sure it's just a matter of time before someone does.

I'll try to be open to it, but for some reason I just have a mental block against this book.

But, if it can win you over, maybe it will win me over, too. ;-)

ANovelMenagerie said...

Hey Sheri, it's Sheri!

I purchased this book and it's on my TBR pile. I'm really looking forward to it!

Great review.

bermudaonion said...

I loved this book and hated for it to end. I passed it along to my mother and sister and they both loved it too. My mother talked about it for days.

Cathy said...

Nice review! I agree with C.B. James. I too have some type of mental block against this book. I picked up in the store and couldn't even finish reading the blurb! Who knows? I will have to pick it up again and see what happens ....

Darlene said...

Nice review. This is sitting on my shelf. I just need to find time to read it one of these days. Glad you enjoyed it.

Vanessa Book ♥ Soulmates said...


Im tagging you for "Whats on your desk wednesday" by Alternative Read. It's super easy and fun!
Here's the link:

and here's my post if you want to check it out!

Have fun!
Vanessa of Book ♥ Soulmates

Melissa said...

I loved this one! It's one I recommend all the time.

Anna said...

I'm glad to see you enjoyed this one as much as I did. I hope it's okay that I linked to your review on War Through the Generations.

Diary of an Eccentric