The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

My four-star rating of this book shows how subjective my taste is and reveals how my reviews reflect nothing but my personal opinion. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society (I know, it’s long) follows Juliet Ashton, a budding author who decides to write her second book about the island of Guernsey. Guernsey was occupied by Germans during World War II, and when Juliet goes there to meet its inhabitants and learn about its history, she gets more than what she bargained for. Perhaps, though, a change of scenery from living in London will do her good.

In the college application process, I’ve had to answer questions like “describe yourself in two words” or “what three words would you use to describe yourself best”? I always think to myself, well, this is ludicrous – how can I describe the entirety of my being with only two or three words? However, when it comes to this book by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, two or three words does suffice: sweet, innocent, and light. There were a lot of dark subjects in this story, as one might expect when reading a book that even slightly deals with the Holocaust. There were touching aspects too, like the death of Kit’s mother or the homosexuality of one of the main characters. All of these themes could have been more developed, as I felt like Shaffer and Barrows skimmed the surface but did not delve deeply enough.

Overall, a cute little book narrated in epistolary format. Not a serious work of literature, but a piece of brain candy that will have you sighing in contentment and maybe even swooning a little by its close.

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6 Comments

Filed under 4 stars, Book Reviews, Books

6 responses to “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

  1. Ooh, yay, I’m glad you read it! You’re right, though – it does touch a lot of deep issues that aren’t explored fully.

    Oh, and the way that everyone’s literary voice sounded similar? That got on my nerves a little. I thin if they’d tried to distinguish it just a tiny bit more, then the whole theme of the book, about words being able to unite people from completely different backgrounds, would have resonated a bit more. SIGH. Oh wells.

    Also, that Dawsey story line was totally unexpected for me. Did you feel that way at all? I was seriously rooting for Juliet and Sidney (he was so awesome and snarky) but that obviously didn’t happen. I think I kind of wanted more of Sidney’s story as well. Might’ve fallen in love with him. Just a tiny bit. He only had a few lines, though. Apparently it doesn’t take much to impress me 😛 *no shame*

    But it’s definitely light, I agree. I kind of went in expecting a chocolate mud cake and then realized it was only a souffle. Which is a stupid metaphor because I haven’t even HAD a souffle. Ever. (I know, tragedy, whatever.) But souffle sounds like it would be a light desert.

    • I agree. I liked all of the characters, but they were so similar (with Isola being the most salient exception) in voice that I never got attached to any of them in particular. Perhaps it’s because of the epistolary format that the authors had to resort to “telling” a lot as opposed to “showing.”

      I detected the Dawsey story line from the beginning! Sidney was a good choice, but he played for the other team, which explains why he and Juliet are more like siblings than lovers. And it’s okay, sometimes the side characters are also the ones that win our hearts! (cough, Magnus Bane from the Mortal Instruments series)

      I don’t think I’ve had souffle either… but yes, you’re right. I definitely don’t regret reading it, thank you again for your wonderful review that made me pick it up!

      • Ahhh Magnus Bane!! Excuse me while I have a fangirl spaz attack.
        YES! He is easily my favorite character out of everyone in that story. I love him so much, he’s so snarky and accomplished and funny – gah! He really was very charming and captivating – it’s hard not to notice him.
        Have you heard that Clare is writing a short story titled “The Magnus Bane Chronicles”? Tee hee. And I’ve seen your reviews of TMI series – so I assume you’re awaiting the movies eagerly as well. I’m not a HUGE fan of the books – sometimes her writing acts as a hindrance but I can’t deny that she’s great at action and pacing the plot. Also the characters. Yum. Haha.

        • Same here! He and Alex are my OTP. Well, one of them. And I did hear about that – I’m a little disappointed that they’ll only be short stories, but I suppose that’s better than nothing.

          I agree about action, plot, and especially the characters. I love her characters to death. The movie I’m sort of excited for, though I’m somewhat cringing too. We’ll see how well the actors portray their characters – I don’t want to judge too soon.

  2. Thanks for the review – I was just looking at this wondering if I should choose it to read or not!

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