The Guernsey Literary and Potatoe Peel Pie Society, M. A. Shaffer & A. Barrow (ed. Bloomsbury)
Page number: 240
Release date: July 2008
Tags: World War II – Epistolary novel – History – Friendship – Testimony – Humor
It’s 1946, and Juliet Ashton can’t think what to write next. Out of the blue, she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey – by chance, he’s acquired a book that once belonged to her – and, spurred on by their mutual love of reading, they begin a correspondence. When Dawsey reveals that he is a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potatoe Peel Pie Society, Juliet’s curiosity is piqued, and it’s not long before she begins to hear from other members. As letters fly back and forth with stories of life in Guernsey under the German Occupation, Juliet soon realises that the society is every bit as extraordinary as its name.
“I read in the newspaper that they have put up a war refugee camp in its place now. It gives me the shivers to think of new barracks being built there, even for a good purpose. To my mind, that land should be a blank for ever.”
This story is a kind of a collection of testimonies of the inhabitant of Guernsey during the German Occupation. It is fictional, and the literary society is the excuse to the book nevertheless we can feel that what happened is true. The way the characters deal with the Germans, the restrictions, the terror that they saw during the Occupation, everything is an element that can be found everywhere. However, the fact that it is written in an epistolary way make it sometimes more difficult to assimilate. Indeed, the letters help the reader to create a link between the protagonists and him. They look like friends that we meet by letter or longtime friends with whom we relink.
In this book, the mind of all characters during the WWII, especially during the German Occupation, is explored. Each of them has a different experience, and his or her testimonies complete each other, but they act differently, and at the same time they begin to be close to each other. The fact that the Channel Islands was alone during this period amplify everything.
Conclusion: my favourite book of all the time, it is the second reading, and I like it again. An excellent book for anyone who likes this period and even if it is strange to read letters, it makes you feel like a part of their Guernsey Literary and Potatoe Peel Pie Society.