Wednesday, October 10, 2012

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


I know I did a book review already this week. I planned to post a recipe for blueberry muffins next, but I can't. Because this book with the absurd -- and absurdly long -- title has captured me and I don't want to ever get free of it. And when I love a book this much, I have to share it with whomever I can.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is written almost entirely as a series of letters and telegrams from and to a woman writer in post-WWII London, Juliet Ashton. She learns about an extraordinary, eclectic group of readers living on the island of Guernsey who turned to books to help them get through the German occupation of their home. Juliet decides to write an article, then a book about these people, goes to Guernsey to meet them, and then... then it gets reeeeeally good.

I read this book in less than three days, and immediately began to re-read it because I love it so much and want to spend more time in the company of these characters. I bought my own copy yesterday. I honestly can't recall the last book I read twice in a row (other than picture books to Daniel, lol) -- maybe Jane Eyre? If so, that was more than a decade ago.

This book is crammed with delightful people (and yes, a few who aren't, since every story needs an antagonist or two), delicious writing, and a palpable love for books. These people are as enthusiastic about books as I am, and I think that is what makes me so very fond of them. Sure, the setting helps, as I love learning about the 1940s, but really it's the characters that I don't want to leave. Plus, this book makes me laugh aloud, even on the second reading, and I love books that delight me so much I can't help laughing aloud.

Here is an excellent site about this book, including an excerpt from the book if you want a taste of it without seeking it out at your library or local bookseller. My dear friend DocB recommended this book to me, and I can never thank her enough.

(Originally posted on The Huggermugger Blog on Aug. 13, 2010.)

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