Thursday, March 19, 2009

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

Summary: Juliet, a young and chipper writer, begins correspondence with members of the "Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" and learns about their lives during the German occupation of the island during World War II. Written in epistolary form, the novel covers Juliet's relationships with the various members in Guernsey and her friends in London.

Musings: I'm joining a book club and am really excited about it. I've wanted to be in one for a long time, but even though they're very popular right now, I didn't know anyone else my age who was in one. This club includes a college friend of mine, and I knew they had previously read The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which I loved. Their book selection for this month was Guernsey. I'd heard of the book before in researching new things to read but had passed it over.

I know Guernsey is a very popular book club book now (probably because it's about a pseudo-book club), and I'm hoping that's the reason this group chose it. Although not a terrible book, it's not a book worth discussion. A middle-aged woman's beach read is probably the best description.

Juliet is supposed to be perky and spunky, perhaps in the vein of Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice, but I found her annoying and dim-witted. All the characters are excessively good and free of conflict, despite the obvious hardships of the War and German occupation. The book moves breezily towards its expected happy conclusion, with nary a obstacle in its way.

The book is not terrible, but it wasn't interesting, insightful, or original either. There are many stories told in the book which Juliet is excited to put into book form. And they are good stories, but this book makes them Disney movies and Lifetime specials rather than literature.

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