BOOK REVIEW: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary A. Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Last week, we took the opportunity to catch up on what’s been going on in my life for the past few years. But now that’s out of the way, it’s time that we return to the roots and talk about books. So, how about we dive into a review of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary A. Shaffer and Annie Barrows? I must admit that it’s been quite a while since I finished reading it, but I still remember it vividly.

I believe that many of you have either read the book or have seen its film adaptation. Yet, dear reader, if the latter is your case, the two stories couldn’t be more different. But now I’m jumping ahead a bit too much.

Should we take it from the beginning?

A Letter From a Stranger Can Be Life-Changing

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a story of a 32-year-old writer called Juliet Ashton. She is on tour with her latest book – a series of columns about life in World War II under her pen-name Izzy Bickerstaff. However, Juliet would like to publish future books under her own name. During the tour, she also receives flowers from Mark V. Reynolds, Jr., a wealthy American man trying to build up a successful publishing company. He makes it clear that he is her admirer, and they start dating.

One day, Juliet receives a letter from Dawsey Adams from Guernsey, who got hold of her copy of Essays of Elia by Charles Lamb. She tells the stranger more about Charles Lamb, and, in return, he explains his part in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. She learns that society began as a cover-up for breaking a curfew during the island’s German occupation. Juliet starts to correspond with other society members to include their opinions in an article for The Times Literary Supplement. Later, the society invites her to Guernsey so they can meet her, and she can experience their meetings herself. But, of course, such a trip will change Juliet’s life in the most unexpected way. Is she going to stay with Mark? Or is she going to find love in someone else? You’ll have to read the book yourself to find out. But one thing is for sure. Juliet will make friends for a lifetime.

Telling a Story Through Correspondence: Is It for Everyone?

I remember that when I was buying this book, the bookseller told me that she found the story very beautiful and charming – and I was very excited about it. I’m not going to lie, though. It took me quite a few pages to get into the story and get used to the way it’s written. After all, you don’t read a fictional story that consists only of letters often, do you? However, I truly enjoyed reading the book once I became comfortable with it. Despite not being sure about the form of the story in the beginning, it made the characters shine through. As Juliet exchanges correspondence with other characters and they reply, it allows you to connect with them on a deeper level. You learn more about their personality and the little things typical of their character. Also, it’s intriguing to see how different the writing of each character is. After all, the way people put their words on paper tells a lot about them, don’t you think?

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society made me want to pack my bags and move to Guernsey. Escape from the city. It’s one of those books that makes you so invested in the story that you want to keep reading and not put it away. Maybe it’s because I have a soft spot for romantic stories. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, One Day by David Nicholls and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë are only a few examples of my all-time favourite books in the romance genre. The book we’re discussing in today’s review doesn’t feel so different. The story was predictable, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy it. On the contrary, it ended up being a book that I’ll always love to return to when I want to read a funny and heart-warming story.

“Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true.”

Mary A. Shaffer & Annie Barrows – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Enjoy the Story on a Silver Screen

If you love film adaptations of written stories, then you’ll be delighted to know that there’s one of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society as well! In my opinion, it’s not the best film adaptation under the sun, but it’s not the worst, either. In the book, members of the society invite Juliet to come to Guernsey; however, she goes there without any invitation or telling them about her arrival in the film. Honestly, this ruined the character of Juliet for me, at least on the screen. I was also sad about some storylines missing, but that seems inevitable for any film adaptation, doesn’t it? On the other hand, the performance of Lily James as Juliet makes for a wonderful experience. Alongside Michiel Huisman (you might remember him from Game of Thrones) as Dawsey Adams and the rest of the cast, they bring all the lovely characters to life, and maybe seeing them on the screen will help you to understand them more in-depth.

What do you think? Will you give The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society a chance? Whether you pick a book or its film adaptation (I’m team book!), I believe that you will fall in love with the story just like I did. Juliet is an amazing character – funny, smart and a breath of fresh air everywhere she appears. Such an original love story definitely shouldn’t be missing on your bookshelf. If you initially find the correspondence format difficult to read, I have only one piece of advice. Give it a chance, and bear with the book for at least a few more pages before you give up. It’s worth it.

And that’s the end of today’s book review! How did you enjoy it? Which books would you like me to review next? Also, what are you currently reading? I’m always looking for inspiration!

If you enjoyed the review or found it helpful, I’ll be grateful for every comment, share or like.

Have a wonderful day, and I can’t wait to see you here again when the next article comes out.


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