The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

20161118_112955I know all of us hate meta-stuff, but I can’t not comment on this. I feel like I’m completely failing #bookmas right now (you might have witnessed that completely humiliating moment when this post here was automically published- but hadn’t yet been furnished with text by me. I’m terribly sorry.), but I promise you there’s definitely going to be 31 blogposts this month, however that will work…

So here we go. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, which I’ve just read last month.
It’s an epistolary novel set on the Channel island of Guernsey, very shortly after WWII, centered around writer Juliet (sorry, can’t remember her surname and can’t be bothered to look it up…)

I always struggle with really taking a neutral position when starting a new book unless it’s something I know literally nothing about. With this one, I had that attitude of it going to be an easy, but slightly cheesy read of not too much substance, and as much as I tried getting over that prejudice, that’s kind of what it was.

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I definitely enjoyed it and flew through it quite happily, but I have to say, it’s not the kind of book I’d want to read all the time.
It’s shockingly predictable as in the moment you read the main love interest’s first letter, you know he’s going to end up with Juliet, and the resolution to her “huge writer’s block” could also be solved by asking the reader after the first fifty pages. The character’s were very consciously made out to be quirky, but that didn’t really bother me while reading.

The only thing that really annoyed me was the huge revelation and resulting climactic sequence of drama that ended the book, which I read physically cringing because I didn’t find them subtle or well-done at all.

Still I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it, because it’s (again, very much consciously and palpably constructed to be) endearing and comfortable, so if you’re looking to curl up for an evening with a hot drink and lose yourself for some hours, this is one to get from the library and just leave your critical reader outside the room for a while.
If you get over the cliché of them all, the characters are very much one’s to love while reading, although (as proven above by me forgetting Juliet’s surname already), quite forgettable, and I definitely did put it aside smiling.

Those (doubtful) compliments aside, it’s subject matter (the German Occupation of the Channel Islands and the islanders, very much ordinary people, coping with it) was without a question fascinating and something that, did I harbour an all-consuming interest in World War II, I’d probably research further…

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