19 February 2010
Book Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Author: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Published: 2009 Pages: 274
Buy | Borrow | Accept | Avoid
Juliet Ashton, writer, meets the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society after one of its members finds her address in a Charles Lamb book. Through this eclectic group of people, Juliet learns of the German occupation of Guernsey and discovers a group of people as quirky as herself.
This is my second vacation book, and just like the first - Fingersmith - I adored it. The unusual characters, the moving history of the island, and the wonderful way with words these letter-writers have kept me turning the page...and ignoring the rest of my family who thought this was to be a more social vacation. :)
Epistolary novels are new to me; I've never ignored them, but I've never sought them out. I assumed that reading a collection of letters would be overly disjointed, fragmented, nothing but glimpses into the lives of the characters that when put together do not tell a story, but rather offer some sort of touchy-feely-idea of who they are, an abstract universal truth instead of an actual plot. I was pleasantly surprised that this was not the case.
At first, I had a bit of difficulty getting into the story. With no exposition, the novel jumps in with letters not designed to introduce the characters but to start the conflict. In other words, I had no idea who was who or what was what. When I stopped trying to figure everything out though, it all came quite easily, and I was quickly immersed in the little intrigues of Juliet and her correspondence partners.
Memorable Quote: My neighbor Evangeline Smythe is going to have twins in June. She is none too happy about it, so I am going to ask her to give one of them to me. This is one of many little quirky comments Juliet makes that make me think she would be a fun friend.
Icing on the Cake:
Positive portrayal of homosexuality
Strong female characters
If I've missed yours, let me know!
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