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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie…
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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (original 2008; edition 2010)

by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
12,562935191 (4.15)1 / 998
Member:YogicMich
Title:The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Authors:Mary Ann Shaffer
Other authors:Annie Barrows
Info:Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (2010), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:2012, Your library, Read but unowned
Rating:***
Tags:None

Work details

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (2008)

  1. 450
    84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (khuggard, DetailMuse, Cecilturtle, helgagrace, Sodapop, BasilBlue, kraaivrouw)
    khuggard: Another tale about book lovers who come together through letters, with the same post-war England setting.
    Sodapop: A Non-fiction story about book lovers told via their letters.
    BasilBlue: A book about books and booklovers for booklovers that incidentally has a real flavor of the late 40s and early 50s.
    kraaivrouw: Another book about people who connect via their love of books and reading.
  2. 291
    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (writemeg)
    writemeg: Another deeply affecting, beautiful and heartbreaking story of books, love, small kindness and resilience during World War II.
  3. 130
    Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg (Caramellunacy)
    Caramellunacy: Both stories are bittersweet - tales of hardship, prejudice and hope although they are set in very different places and very different times. Fried Green Tomatoes jumps around but describes life, race relations and murder in a small Southern town during the Great Depression. Shaffer's novel deals with the occupation (and its aftermath) of the small Channel Island of Guernsey during WWII.… (more)
  4. 111
    The Postmistress by Sarah Blake (Anonymous user, mysterymax)
    Anonymous user: Both novels reflect on World War II from small, seaside towns, one an island in Europe, the other a small town in Cape Cod. The female leads are unique and interesting and are surrounded by great small town people.
  5. 134
    Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson (cransell)
  6. 103
    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (Voracious_Reader)
    Voracious_Reader: The writing styles and the authors' love for the written word connect both period pieces in my mind even though their plots are extremely different.
  7. 70
    The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Going in to the bookmobile to apologize for the disturbance created by one of her corgis, Queen Elizabeth II feels it would only be polite to check out a book. When she returns it, she checks out another . . . and then another. One of her pages becomes her abettor in the matter of securing books and reading them. Thus begins an amusing but also thought-provoking saga of how reading can change a person's habits and even outlook.… (more)
  8. 50
    The Book of Ebenezer Le Page by G. B. Edwards (jill123, BasilBlue)
    jill123: Though they are different in style and tone, both books are set in the Channel Islands during the Nazi Occupation. I enjoyed the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, but I found Ebenezer Le Page to be an absolutely wonderful book. More complex and interesting than the Potato Peel Society.… (more)
    BasilBlue: Although written in a more elegantly sparse style, this book covers much the same territory, geographically and emotionally.
  9. 40
    Excellent Women by Barbara Pym (nancyewhite)
  10. 51
    Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole (rosylibrarian)
  11. 62
    The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher (MyriadBooks)
  12. 63
    The Color Purple by Alice Walker (Limelite)
    Limelite: Also an epistolary novel. Also about how community can triumph over debilitating circumstance.
  13. 41
    Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay (vulgarboatman)
    vulgarboatman: Similar themes of a journalist discovering the layers of secrets around a mystery from WWII, along with an exploration of the effect of these events on the survivors, their families, and ultimately on the journalist herself.
  14. 30
    Miss Buncle by D.E. Stevenson (wandering_star)
  15. 30
    The Dig by John Preston (CatyM)
  16. 42
    A Place of Hiding by Elizabeth George (KayCliff)
    KayCliff: Both books deal with the occupation of Guernsey by the Nazis.
  17. 31
    A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper (betsytacy)
    betsytacy: This YA novel, set in 1936, features 16-year-old Sophie, a royal orphan growing up with her siblings and cousin in a shabby castle on island kingdom of Montmaray, somewhere off the coast of England. The island's strategic location draws the interest of the Nazis.… (more)
  18. 21
    The German Occupation of Jersey, 1940 - 1945 - Notes on the General Conditions. How the Population Fared by Ralph Mollet (KayCliff)
  19. 10
    My Dear Bessie: A Love Story in Letters by Chris Barker (carriehh)
  20. 10
    Plenty by David Hare (kraaivrouw)
    kraaivrouw: Both capture the desperation of post-war England in their own unique ways.

(see all 39 recommendations)

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English (905)  French (14)  Spanish (7)  Catalan (5)  Finnish (3)  German (3)  Dutch (2)  Norwegian (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Hungarian (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (943)
Showing 1-5 of 905 (next | show all)
Reading a second time now...:) ( )
  CindyJo | Jun 26, 2015 |
Meh...can't really say I liked this book all that much. I love reading books about books, although they do tend to be a hit or miss (in my tastes, at least). I saw that this had a rather high rating on goodreads, and I thought the premise was interesting. The entire book is made up of a series of letters written from one character to another. In some schools, this would fall into the experimental writing school of thought.

I never really got into the letter writing. It never really felt like they were cohesive enough for me as a reader to get a general sense of the characters. It wasn't until later in the book when the 'letters' were getting longer and it felt like I could really get into it. But the constant changing of the point of views felt a little choppy. And it was rather odd, to me, that some of the letters that went back and forth between characters were so short that it felt like dialogue. I wasn't sure if that's what the authors were going for, or if people wrote letters to one another that were one sentence long, or what. Seems like a waste of postage to me. The novel also felt very monotonous in terms of the voices. Nearly every letter written by one of the characters seemed to have the same voice. And their choice of words? Some people wrote like they were professional writers when they weren't, and vice versa.

If you like stories where nothing bad ever happens, then this might be a fun read for you. But without any plot complications happening, I tend to get bored. Sure, the whole "girl doesn't know if the guy likes her or not and over-analyzes things he says" bit might be entertaining for some, but maybe a little more suspense might help.

I will leave with a quote, taken from the book directly, which pretty much sums up my thoughts:

"Juliet, your book needs a center. I don't mean more in-depth interviews. I mean one person's voice to tell what was happening all around her. As written now, the facts, as interesting as they are, seem like random, scattered shots." Yes, random scattered shots they are. ( )
  jms001 | Jun 14, 2015 |
I really liked this book. I read it on recommendation of a friend who declared it one of her top three favorite books read in 2008. I’m not certain that it will be a long-lasting favorite, but I liked it.

When I started reading, I groaned audibly and frantically paged through the first few chapters realizing that, blech, it is a book of letters. I detest that format! I do. I hate it. However, it works for this book–and you have to understand how grudgingly I say that. The book has a legitimate reason for being based upon letters that is completely authentic: a man without a local book source, writes a letter to the former owner of a book he came by for more information about the book’s author. I like that. Very much. There is something very comforting about connecting with people over like interests… but in important ways. So this story begins with the former owner of the book being a new authoress herself–in search of her next story. The man and the people from the island where he lives have just such a story.

Set in post-war England and the Channel Islands, Guernsey Literary Society is a historical treasure. For someone my age, I have a vague notion of the sacrifices that civilians were not asked but required to give for their countries during the war, but I certainly didn’t understand the extent nor make the connection that for years after the war, people were still on rations for so many items: food, clothing and so forth. Indeed, given that we have been at war/alert/peace action/constant impending action for so much of my daughter’s life and then some, it’s amazing to me that I don’t sacrifice anything in the least little bit on any day for the war mongering we do abroad. I’m so not going down that road in this blog though.

The letters are sent back and forth from this new authoress to several characters who live on Guernsey and who tell their tales about the war. Some are amusing. Some are mostly harmless. Some leave you in tears or make your face distort with horror. This book is able to force your eyes open and educate you on lesser known horrors, or perhaps more accurately, those that time has forgot, without beating you over the head with it–and it leaves a lasting impression.

I think what I liked best about this book is that the characters are so full of life, so real. I laughed and cried and smiled and sat thoughtfully as I read. Their stories moved me. I also really loved watching the new authoress mature a bit and come into her own in so many areas of her life–almost as though her character drew the strength, wisdom, and maturity from the stories the Guernsey folk shared with her.

This is a must read–pick a few quiet, chilly evenings to curl up with it on the couch. Oh, and this is definitely not chick lit. ( )
  mullgirl | Jun 8, 2015 |
A truly delightful book. Interesting believable characters cast together in one of life's dramas. You didn't know what to expect next. Makes you want to go to Guernsey to meet them. ( )
  GeoffSC | May 31, 2015 |
I know this is almost universally loved, but I didn't care for it. Far too sentimental, and the main character is a veritable saint apparently. ( )
  Hobbitlass | May 6, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 905 (next | show all)
"The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society," written by the late Mary Ann Shaffer and her niece, children's author Annie Barrows, stays within modest bounds, but is successful in ways many novels are not. This book won't change your life, but it will probably enchant you. And sometimes that's precisely what makes fiction worthwhile.
 
he Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society commemorates beautiful spirits who pass through our midst and hunker undercover through brutal times. Shaffer's Guernsey characters step from the past radiant with eccentricity and kindly humour, a comic version of the state of grace. They are innocents who have seen and suffered, without allowing evil to penetrate the rind of decency that guards their humanity.
 
You could be skeptical about the novel's improbabilities and its sanitized portrait of book clubs (doesn't anyone read trashy thrillers?), but you'd be missing the point. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a sweet, sentimental paean to books and those who love them.
 

» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mary Ann Shafferprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barrows, Anniemain authorall editionsconfirmed
Boehmer, PaulNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Duerden, SusanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kapari-Jatta, JaanaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Landor, RosalynNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mills, JulietNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Norey, VirginiaBook Designsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ridelberg, HelenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, GeorgeMapsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
Lovingly dedicated to my mother, Edna Fiery Morgan, and to my dear friend Julia Poppy Barrows, Fiery Cynthia mother
First words
8th January, 1946

Mr. Sidney, Stark, Publisher
Stephens & Stark Ltd.
21 St. James's Place
London S.W.1
England

Dear Sidney,

Susan Scott is a wonder. We sold over forty copies of the book, which was very pleasant, but much more thrilling from my standpoint was the food. Susan managed to procure ration coupons for icing sugar and real eggs for the meringue. If all her literary luncheons are going to achieve these heights, I won't mind touring about the country. Do you suppose that a lavish bonus could spur her on to butter? Let's try it—you may deduct the money from my royalties.
Quotations
Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books. -Isola Pribby
Men are more interesting in books than they are in real life. -Isola Pribby
Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true. -Juliet
I can't think of anything lonelier than spending the rest of my life with someone I can't talk to, or worse, someone I can't be silent with. -Juliet
I think you learn more if you're laughing at the same time. -John Booker
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
Beginning at the end of WW2, this book is told through the form of letter between writer Juliet Ashton and her friends. Juliet initially receives a letter from a man on the island of Guernsey asking for more books. She becomes so in love with stories and descriptions of life in Guernsey that she decides to go herself. Through the letters she sends home and the letters from her new friends the stories of people's lives are revealed. This book points out that the lives of people were more important than the formality of the writing.

This book may not have the most literary value bu there were so many allusions to books that I couldn't keep track. It made me realize that I had really not read that many books. It also was a book that made me want to learn more about people and not just be content with what's on the surface. The people in Guernsey were just so interesting.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385341008, Paperback)

January 1946: writer Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a stranger, a founding member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. And so begins a remarkable tale of the island of Guernsey during the German occupation, and of a society as extraordinary as its name.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:42 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

As London is emerging from the shadow of World War II, writer Juliet Ashton discovers her next subject in a book club on Guernsey--a club born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi after its members are discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 12 descriptions

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