Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

I completely recommend this book!

I loved it. This story is told through letters between a writer in London and some friends that live on the island of Guernsey. It is not choppy at all, and the characters are endearing. Do I say that too much? It's such a huge enjoyment factor for me. My only complaint is that I had no idea the age of a few of the characters. Like was Elizabeth in her 40's or 20's? Dawsey, Isola, no idea.

My mom was telling me recently how she loved reading books that taught her about a different time and culture. I was thinking that I don't always love books like that. But THIS book gives a really good perspective of the aftermath of WWII. From several perspectives.

One thing I LOVED was that it does not gloss over the horrors these people faced in the war, but it doesn't dwell on them. Everyone is trying to find joy, and the book feels very hopeful. I think it is very successful in dealing with tragedy. It made me think of many aspects of war that, hopefully, I've never been exposed too.

Yet, it is not purely informative and historical. There is a rich story of Juliet, and her finding happiness. There is a nice romance or two! I love the blend of great old friends, and brand new friends that feel like kindred spirits.

I loved the voice and the style of this writer. I'm so sad to hear that she died. But how great, and in the spirit of the book, that her niece finished the process for her.

There are some great statements in this book:

"That's what i love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you into another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book. It's geometrically progressive--all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment." I love this because that is why we read, for "enjoyment." And who hasn't been lead on a treasure hunt from one book to the other.

And going right along with that, "We clung to books and to our friends; they reminded us that we had another part to us." This is how I feel as a mother of young children. Lot's of my time is spend in the mundane, and doing things I'm not crazy about. Reading reminds me of my other self: who I used to be.

This book is funny, but doesn't try to be witty at every turn. After hearing of her friend's broken leg, she writes to his sister about her "tiny infant of an idea," and says, "In honor of Sidney's leg, I'm going to coddle it and feed it and see if I can make it grow." Hilarious.

I loved how the book unfolds in the letters through the simple statement, "I'll tell you a story about..."

From the author's Acknowledgements in the back, "I hope, too, that my book will illuminate my belief that love of art--be it poetry, storytelling, painting, sculpture, or music--enables people to transcend any barrier man has yet devised."

I kept hearing about and seeing this book. It's great, read it!


Kelly M said...

OH, I loved it too! I loved that the letters were able to tell the story and fill in the blanks, yet still feel like letters real people could write. And I really liked learning about a part of WWII I knew nothing about. Fascinating, and fun.

The GruCru said...

We read it for book club at most of us loved it. I love how it talks about horrible things, but doesn't dwell on them

kim said...

ooh kam, i can't wait to read this, it sounds great and congrats on the new sewing machine. good for you, i really need to learn how to sew, it's such a great skill to have.

Hayley's Comment said...

I can't wait to read it. You're right it is coming up everywhere I look lately!

Kammy T said...

I just saw this in the Costco magazine, they're going to start carrying it on May 5. I'll definitely be picking up a copy or two.

Sharlene, Mom, Grammy said...

I am traveling the U.S. and giving this book to my friends--so far I've delivered copies to Kentucky and Tennessee. I also plan to send one abroad to Japan. This book is such a fun book to read after pouring through William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!!!
Kathy E.

Sharlene, Mom, Grammy said...

I'm alittle over 1/3 through reading this book (which was a gift from your Mom). I'm loving it. I find it hard to put down, as I'm anxious to see what the next letter brings. I already have my favorite lines from it.

salty c-snake said...

this was such a great book. i love the last quote you included from the author becuase it says better then i could what i love about fiction. how you can get so engrossed in these characters lives that you have a better empathy for some of the hisrtorical tragedies you read about.

does that sound dumb?? bryan and i have been arguing about the validity of fiction vs non so. . .

Sharlene, Mom, Grammy said...

Just finished reading this last night. Loved every bit of it. I also enjoyed reading about the authors---so very tender and interesting. Just a couple of my favorite lines that came right at the begining of the book:

".......always finding the one book I wanted--and then three more I hadn't known I wanted."

"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."

Thanks for sharing this book with all of us, and thanks to your Mom for giving it to me.

Miriam@BeBookBound said...

I adored this one. It felt like they were all my dear friends by the end.