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Monday, May 4, 2009

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

Authors: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Title: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society
Release Date: July 29th, 2008
Publisher: The Dial Press
Genre: Historical Fiction

Book Jacket: "January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she'd never met, a native of Guernsey, the British island once occupied by the Nazis. He'd come acoss her name on the flyleaf of a secondhand volume by Charles Lamb. Perhaps she could tell him where he might find more books by the author.
As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, she is drawn into the world of this man and his friends, all members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, a unique book club former in a unique, spur-of-the-moment way: as an alibi to protect its members from arrest by the Germans.
Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the Society's charming, deeply human members, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all. Through their letters she learns about their island, their taste in books, and the powerful, transformative impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds there will change her forever."

Taryn's Review: This book sucked me in at first, but as the book progressed, my interest waned significantly, especially since the outcome of the book became quite evident as soon as Juliet landed in Guernsey. I was actually a bit relieved when the book was over.

One of the biggest problems for me regarding the book was that I was supposed to fall in love with Elizabeth like every other character in the book, but I didn't. Elizabeth the Hero! Elizabeth the Saint! Elizabeth the Wonder! I just never grasped her. And when Juliet started rambling about how she feels connected to Elizabeth, I really felt disconnected from the book. I didn't connect to any of the emotions.

There are a lot of characters in this book. There were times I would be reading and have to pause to try and remember what that particular character's back story was. The book was also written in the form of letter correspondence; I wasn't too fond of this method, but I am sure some are.

And while I hate admitting this, I will. Juliet began to annoy me in the middle of the book to the point I thought about quitting. She is so...likeable? Where are her flaws? She wrote a best-selling book, had a millionaire American man after her, went on a book tour, wrote to Guernsey folks, and then up and went to Guernsey where she was loved by all.

I understand the WWII aspect was meant to bring the reader some perception about the horror that Guernsy people suffered. In the end, I really didn't get a great sense of how WWII affected the people of Guernsey during and after the war (especially since most stories involving the Nazis are about Elizabeth).

Overall, the book left me with a happy picture for all. It definitely wasn't a book I'd read again, and I also doubt it is one that will stay in my memory for too long.

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