Monday, September 08, 2008
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society
Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
After I read the first letter from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society I was having flashbacks to 84 Charing Cross Road. There was mention of WWII, and rationing coupons, and well, it was in letter format, and I thought, oh crap, it's going to try and follow in 84's footsteps. Luckily, my oh crap was premature.
I loved this book. I know that my adoration of such a popular book is sort of contrary to my Booking Through Thursday post from last week, but oh well.
Some of the reasons why I'm in love with the book, despite its obnoxiously long title, which I swear I will never type again:
Format. Yes, I like the story told in letters, even if it has been done before. I think the author(s) did a wonderful job of evoking the 1940s, and the distinct personalities of all of the characters, and the feel of Guernsey, all through a series of letters.
I learned stuff. I never knew the Channel Islands were occupied by the Germans during WWII. Did you? Do you even know where the Channel Islands are? (Besides the obvious answer of in the Channel.) I only had a vague idea. Now, I feel like I've been there. Actually, I want to move there, but that's not gonna happen. And have you ever heard of Todt slaves? Me either. I love books that work little bits of history in...it makes me want to hold the book up to my former grad school history professor and make snide comments about it being both more informative and more interesting than his class, and say things like nee-neer, nee-neer, nee-neer.
Friendship. This book has some great friendships happening.
"Men are more interesting in books than they are in real life."
"My aunt says she will never set foot in our house again, and Mother hasn't spoken to me since that day. I find it all very peaceful."
"They want to address the practical, moral and philosophical value of reading - spread out over three issues and by three different authors. I am to cover the philosophical side of the debate and so far my only thought is that reading keeps you from going gaga." I am particularly fond of this one.
The story. You're probably wondering what it's all about. That is, if you haven't read it already. Or seen it on someone else's blog. Basically, it's the story of a writer who begins to correspond with members of a literary society from the island of Guernsey. And it takes place in 1946. That's all you need to know. This is a story best left to the letter writers.