The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: A Book Review

Title: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Author: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Copyright Date: 2008

IMG_3170

London is recovering after the war and Juliet Ashton is looking to change direction in her writing career. She found success writing inspirational pieces during one of the darkest times of British history. Fate would have it that just as she began her search for a book idea that she received a letter from a man who found her address written in a secondhand book. Dawsey Adams lived on the English Channel island of Guernsey which suffered under German occupation in World War II.

Their correspondence piques Juliet’s interest. Dawsey tells of the restrictions placed on the residents of the island and the small literary society formed as a result. Desperate for companionship a group of islanders gathered weekly to share food, drinks, and books. And it was at these meetings that his dear friend, Elizabeth McKenna shone brightly.

The war took so many things from the islanders: wealth, dignity, safety, food, jobs, and worst of all Elizabeth McKenna. Their brave friend was shipped off to the continent leaving behind her daughter whom the society members took upon themselves to raise. Desperate to reunite with their missing member the rest of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie society enlist the help of their newfound friend, Miss Ashton.

The letters begin to flood in to Juliet Ashton and before long she commits to visiting her pen pals to witness the devastation herself. She left behind her agent, boyfriend, and apartment to pursue her inspiration on Guernsey.

I first heard of this book over the summer while in England. A movie based on this novel was released recently and every bookstore shelved this title with their best sellers. Once I returned to the states I started to see the book everywhere. Online people were talking about it as well. And then Netflix released the movie in America.

I must say that after watching the movie this was one of those rare cases where I preferred the movie to the book. I did enjoy the book, but I found the format in which it was written to be a little less exciting than the cinematic interpretation. It is written in letter form. The pro–it’s a quick read. The con–because most of the story is a retelling of events from different character perspectives it lacks some suspense and is relatively limited in dialogue. I highly recommend this novel for many reasons, but I do think the movie warrants a viewing after the fact. Major differences do occur between the two, but I found the film enjoyable and I was able to understand the logic behind most of the changes to the plot and characters.

Follow me on Goodreads to see what I’m reading next!

The Ameri Brit Mom