‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’

Read this book on any day, but especially a bad one.

October 6, 2017

Book Reader at Large
Texas, USA

Dear KCM,

Please do not be cross with me for loaning out your copy of ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’. The book is in good hands with Cousin Tom. He likes history and I think he is enjoying the eccentric people of Guernsey as well as the quirky humor of Juliet Ashton. I hope you will not throw any teapots at me in frustration because you were waiting to get your book back. I pledge to send to you as soon as I can retrieve from Cousin Tom, barring other requests to borrow. (I have two more so far.)

Somehow loaning out that one copy seems to celebrate the spirit of Guernsey’s Literary Society, if not potato peel pie–people reading what they have and hiding their treasures from the Nazi occupiers in their community. Of course in the time the book has spent at my house, we both could have bought enough copies to fill whole bookcases and probably should have done so. Just think of it: Our own literary society organized with the sole purpose of discussing this book.

Now about Cousin Tom. He seemed particularly eager to read the book and I did not want to put him off of it, so I didn’t tell him about the slight romantic thread. Men don’t seem to care about romance books, or want others to know they are reading them. We will see what Cousin Tom says afterward. I believe he will be as charmed as I was despite my early belief (of which I am now disabused) that a story told through letters is the lazy writer’s method.

After I started reading and realized how well letters told this particular story, I wanted to beg someone’s pardon for my prejudice. But whose? The dogs were the only other living beings in the house, so I begged theirs. I believe they accepted especially when I laughed out loud at Juliet’s abilities to find humor almost everywhere.

I can’t decide whether my favorite thing about the story is the survival of the human spirit after the Nazis, or the kindness of people and their appreciation for the differences of others. The humor also competes; it is like a drink of lemonade on a hot day. I may have to read the story again just to see if my head has cleared enough to find One Big Thing to Like.

By the way, did you happen to learn how and why this book was written by two people (Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows)? That’s another story, and a very good one too.

Your good friend and happy reader,


P.S. Now I want to visit the Channel Islands.