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Guernsey Potato Peel Literary Society Book Review


Treated as an alibi, the society actually began life as a pig roast. Islanders were no longer allowed meat, but a local woman managed to hide a pig from the German soldiers and invited her neighbors to share. Caught out after curfew, one of the conspirators claimed that they were a book club who had been so engrossed that they lost track of time.




guernsey potato peel literary society book review



Although The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society is tinged with moments of sadness and heartbreak. However, there are poignant moments of peace, inspiration, courage and hope. There are also many instances when the delightful character set made me laugh. The relationships highlighted in the novel were filled with a deep sense of community spirit. Often I felt like I was a beloved chum of this warm and engaging group. I loved the set up of this novel, especially the ingenuity of the people of Guernsey, who in an act of defiance and self protection, work together to form the society. The added bonus of the linked literature references sprinkled through this novel are a true delight, especially for a booklover.


Though the Guernsey Literary Society also boasts the name of a disgusting-sounding dish, the potato peel pie is mentioned only briefly in the novel. It is described as a pie made out of potato peels and something to do with beets. As I read, I was slightly horrified to think about making such a pie for this post. Luckily, I remembered my Book Club Cookbook and thought I recalled seeing this book listed in the index.


8. Books play an important role in each of the literary society members lives. Authors and poets ranged from Bronte sisters, Dickens, Charles Lamb to Robert Frost. Have you read any of the works mentioned? Were you surprised that Isola Pribby liked Wuthering Heights, and Amelia Maugery liked The Pickwick Papers?


Of course Juliet is attracted to the handsome Dawsey (the temptation, among these heady literary references, to refer to him as Mr Dawsey and enquire as to his annual income is overwhelming). He loves books, is good with his hands, and is never more gorgeous then when striding around the island in a flat cap.


Mary Ann Shaffer was born in 1934 in Martinsburg, West Virginia. She worked as an editor, a librarian and in bookshops. She became interested in Guernsey while visiting London in 1976. On a whim, she decided to fly to Guernsey but became stranded there as a heavy fog descended and no boats or planes were permitted to leave the island. Many years later, in her seventies, when goaded by her own literary club to write a book, Mary Ann naturally thought of Guernsey. She died in 2008, just before her book was published.


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. By Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Dial, 278 pp., $22. Published: July 2008 www.guernseyliterary.com and www.anniebarrows.com


Juliet travels to Guernsey to meet the hastily named society that began while the island was under German occupation. Instead of immediately returning home, she stays and begins research for a new book. Her personal life crashes into her professional life when her fiancé shows up; he had proposed just days before Juliet left for Guernsey. While watching the movie, I found Guernsey to be a warm, slightly fluffy movie that would be great to watch in the winter with blankets and a mug of hot cocoa. In reading the book, I found that Guernsey was very well adapted, as the story was told through letters in the book. Even with the changes, the characters were still kept true to the book. It is one of my favorite WWII era movies because of the focus on individuals.


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