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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Paperback – May 5, 2009
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“I can’t remember the last time I discovered a novel as smart and delightful as this one, a world so vivid that I kept forgetting this was a work of fiction populated with characters so utterly wonderful that I kept forgetting they weren’t my actual friends and neighbors. Treat yourself to this book please—I can’t recommend it highly enough.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love
“Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows have written a wondrous, delightful, poignant book— part Jane Austen, part history lesson. The letters in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society aren't addressed to you, but they are meant for you. It's a book everyone should read. An absolute treasure.”—Sarah Addison Allen, author of Garden Spells
"A jewel...Poignant and keenly observed...A small masterpiece about love, war and the immeasurable sustenance to be found in good books and good friends."—People
"It's tempting to throw around terms like 'gem' when reading a book like this. But The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is not precious...This is a book for firesides or long train rides. It's a charming and timeless as the novels for which its characters profess their love."—San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
“A book-lover's delight, an implicit and sometimes explicit paean to all things literary.”—Chicago Sun-Times
“I’ve never wanted to join a [book] club as desperately as I did while reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society…. [The novel] is a labor of love, and it shows on almost every page.”–Yvonne Zipp, Christian Science Monitor
"As the letters unfold, Juliet—and we readers—learn the little-known history of German occupation of Guernsey. We come to know the brave and endearing people who survived the hardships—and a few who did not....In addition to a fine story, this delightful book offers affirming messages about some of the most enduring forces in life—the power of the written word, the strength of the human spirit and the value of relationships, even unexpected ones."—Winston Salem Journal
"The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a sweet, sentimental paean to books and those who love them.... It affirms the power of books to nourish people enduring hard times."—Washington Post Book World
“Here's who will love this book: anyone who nods in profound agreement with the statement, "Reading keeps you from going gaga." The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a delight. Tart, insightful and fun.”—Mary Doria Russell, author of The Sparrow, A Thread of Grace and Dreamers of the Day
"[A] marvelous debut.... Reminiscent of Helene Hanff's 84 Charing Cross Road , this is a warm, funny, tender, and thoroughly entertaining celebration of the power of the written word."—Library Journal
“Charming…. [Heroine] Juliet finds in the letters not just inspiration for her next work, but also for her life—as readers will.”—Publishers Weekly
"[ The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is] a nifty little cloth whose warp is bibliophilia and whose weft is Anglophilia.... I could not put the book down. I have recommended it to all my friends."—Erica Marcus, Newsday
" A poignant, funny novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit.... This one is a treat."—Boston Globe
“A sure winner…. Elizabeth and Juliet are appealingly reminiscent of game but gutsy ’40s movie heroines.”—Kirkus Reviews
"Fast, fresh.... A perfect novel for adaptation by Masterpiece Theater."—Santa Cruz Sentinel
“Warm, life-affirming prose … an ideal choice for book groups, and also for individual readers.”—St. Petersburg Times
"Delightful ... One of those joyful books that celebrates how reading brings people together."—New Orleans Times-Picayune
“A book lover’s delight, an implicit and sometimes explicit paean to all things literary.” —Chicago Sun-Times
“I’ve never wanted to join a club so desperately as I did while reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Societ.…[The novel] is a labor of love and it shows on almost every page.” —Christian Science Monitor
About the Author
Mary Ann Shaffer who passed away in February 2008, worked as an editor, librarian, and in bookshops. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was her first novel.
Top customer reviews
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Lucky me, I got to read it while visiting Guernsey!
Was this book worth the Kindle Price? $8.63 USD. Yup, absolutely!
Is it a page turner? Yes.
Did I want to be reading this book when I wasn't reading this book? Yes.
Did I learn anything from this book?
Yes, loved all the information so subtly provided about the German occupation. It's like a history book without the boring bits.
Did I think about this book after I was finished reading.
Yes, it has stayed with me. It's been a month since I put it down but I still do think of it. Luckily, I was able to get a fridge magnet of the book cover while in Guernsey.
My only negative comment - now this may sound petty as I really did enjoy all the books and all the characters! But I did notice they all have the same voice. We don't all write letters in the same style and this was not reflected in the book. All the letters were written in the same particular witty style. Made for good fun reading but I did find that a bit strange as like I said, we do all write differently!
Pigs end up playing a major role in this wonderful little book when the author connects with some villagers on Guernsey Island, who have recently emerged from German occupation during World War II. She learns how they outsmarted the Germans, who were fussy over farm animals, according to one explanation of how The Guernsey Literary Society came about in the first place. Spoiler alert: it was because of pigs.
Their mischievous pig roast compelled them to keep up appearances as the literary society they indeed were not. Yet, as one of the inciters of the pig roast writes, “Once two members read the same book, they could argue, which was our great delight.” Their original naughtiness eventually morphed into a sweet band of friends who “read books, talked books, argued over books, and became dearer and dearer to one another.”
The characters are vivid and easy to love, like the characters in Foyle’s War and 84 Charring Cross Road, carrying on despite the undertow of war rumbling beneath them. The writing delighted me, because so much of it made the familiar, ordinary things of life fresh and beautiful and fun (like when the author confesses really like to leave London to live on Guernsey instead). She writes, “The only thing I’d truly miss about London are Sidney and Susan, the nearness to Scotland, new plays, and Harrods Food Hall.” Refreshing: a little bit naughty, a little bit spice. My favorite line in the whole book is her contention that, “Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books.”
I consider it a compliment to say that this was such a good book, it may have ruined me for whatever one’s next!