Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

I finished this book over the weekend. It was another lucky find on the free counter at work. It was already on my wish list, so I couldn't believe my luck when I saw it just sitting there waiting to be read. The book is set up as a bunch of letters, which at first was hard to get used to. Would I really enjoy reading an entire book through letters? But as I got used to the technique, it faded into the background.

Juliet is an author living in London after WWII. She receives a letter from a man who lives on Guernsey Island (off the coasts of England and France) because he by happenstance bought a book she used to own (her name was in it). They begin corresponding and Juliet learns about how the island was occupied by the Germans during the war and how the residents formed a pretend book club- which didn't stay pretend for long - as a way to get around curfew rules.

The story is unbelievably sweet. Even just through letter form you fall in love with all the different characters - and what characters they are! You learn of sad stories of the war, but you also learn of heartwarming stories of hope, courage and perseverance. Some of them are really touching.

While I say the letter technique fades into the background, I did try to consciously study the technique and how it works. For example, when Juliet decides to visit Guernsey, how are we going to learn what she's up to? She's obviously not going to write letters to the residents of Guernsey while she's there. Hence, the placement of other characters in the story who live elsewhere. It's very interesting, and I don't think could always be as well done if not done carefully.

I really enjoyed the story, and it ended just the way I wanted, if a bit abruptly, so that always makes for a good book, too.


doahleigh said...

I didn't read this whole review because I haven't read the book yet. But I've had a hold on it at the library for awhile, and you made me even more excited to get it!

Charley said...

I thought this was a sweet book, too.

Sarah said...

I really enjoyed this book. And we won some awards for the audio, which is always nice :)