Book Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
The title of the book is long-winded, but the book is equally captivated. The book explores the themes associated with readership, sheer exuberance of reading, and letter writing among readers and writers and readers vs. readers. To understand this book, consider this equation: a book you read years/months ago has been landed to some other reader’s by any means, now you get a message from that reader discussing about that book, and then communication commences between both of you. Exchanging ideas and sharing more on reading hobby – kind of pen friend. It’s a great stuff.
Based on the similar lines is the great novel: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Well in this novel, you will find modern modes of communication (like email, social media, cell phone) missing, well then telegrams, letter writing, and diary writing were the best means for exchanging views and sharing thoughts. Thus, you will find this novel narrated through letters: a traditional way of communication that is lost and dormant today.
The novel explores the plight of readers stranded during the bad times of WW-II. The place is Guernsey, an island in the English Channel not so far from the coast of Normandy. There accidentally a group of readers has been formed into unbreakable bonding, subsequently an offline reading club has been created, and the beauty of this club is that they are connected through letters.
From one of the clubs, a member called Dawsey Adams comes ahead and writes a letter to a young female writer Juliet who lives in London. He informs her about the book in which she has written about famous essayist Charles Lamb. She being interested and intrigued by the club writes back to know more about it.
Following their exchange, we get to know more about other members of the club, and writing letters becomes a thing of common among these connected readers and writers. Their letters give us the descriptive view of the place and the hardships inured following the break of the war.
At the same time, the novel digs into the private lives of characters and paints the influence of war on them. During wars how staunch starvation and lack of other basic commodities impact the lives of innocent people has been brought out with undefiled subtlety. Nevertheless, the writer has not heeded much on the war circumstances, rather has put these awry things in witty and humorous way. During the tough times of war how humanity worked in tits and bits is also shown with the scenes like German soldiers dropping vegetables like potatoes and carrots onto the pavements and streets for famished children.