Saturday, January 31, 2009
The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Earlier this week I finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.
This was one of the more enjoyable books I'd read in a long time.
Early in the book one of the characters writes:
"Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true."
I love this sentiment and was happy that this book found me.
Even if this book had been awful I probably would have enjoyed it because it contains a few of my weaknesses - novels in epistolary form, and a book about readers who love books. As it was I found the story captivating and really fell for the characters, and wished it had been just a bit longer!
The book is about a literary society that forms in an unlikely way on the Guernsey islands during World War II when the Germans occupied the islands. After the war, an islander connects with a Londoner, an author, over a book and a pen pal type relationship is formed. The novel is set up with letters among various people and my poor description isn't quite capturing it, but I would certainly recommend this one.
The novel has two authors, and it was originally created by Mary Ann Shaffer, when her health began to fail her niece took part in the writing. I was sad to read online that Mary Ann Shaffer did not live to see her book published. I did find an interesting interview with Annie Barrows if you are interesting in reading more.
Peaknit is reading this as well so I'd be interested to hear her thoughts.
I'll close with another quote from the book that captures one element of reading:
"Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books."