Sunday, August 09, 2009

You must read this. . .

I just finished reading "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Never mind that I bought it specifically to take on our upcoming loooooong flight to central Asia. Sigh. I cracked open the book, just to read the first couple of pages. . . to see what it was like. Well, I devoured it. Couldn't put it down.

This is a rare gem. A gentle story about the quiet strength of people dealing with intolerable events. It is the story of a British writer in the aftermath of the second world war, casting about for a subject for her next book. She receives a letter from a man on the island of Guernsey which starts a year-long friendship, told in letters, between the writer and the Guernsey Islanders as they tell her their story of surviving the German occupation of their island during the war.

The characters of the islanders are iconoclastic without ever feeling like caricatures; the events of the occupation are told with heartbreaking honesty, and yes, even beauty. This is a story about the transcendence of the human spirit, the abiding strength of friendship, and the power of words.

The writing is superb; each character's voice is captured uniquely through their letters and we learn as much about them by what they choose to say as what they choose not to.

Please, please read this book.

I promise, you won't regret the time you spend in its pages.


  1. must get the series from Netflix called, Island at War. It's all about the Guernsey Island (although they don't call it that.) We saw it twice....once when PBS aired it and on Netflix. You'll love it!

    Find a new book to take with you on your trip. I loved The Book Thief. It's one Philip might like, also.

    xxoo Linda

  2. Lisa - I've heard great things about this and look forward to reading it.