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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

 
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Grahame Jones



Joined: 30 Apr 2008
Posts: 3479
Location: London

PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:57 am    Post subject: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Reply with quote

I’d like to recommend,“The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows; now in paperback.

It’s an epistolary novel- a series of letters featuring a fictitious writer who, in 1946, discovers (there had been a news blackout) the terrible deprivations and appalling treatment of the islanders during the Nazi occupation of the Channel Islands during World War II. She writes to various islanders seeking information for her article.

It’s moving, charming and often funny. The letters gradually reveal the characters who comprised the Society; (a reading group, formed in haste to explain comings and goings during the curfew), significant events in the War, and the Group’s friends, acquaintances and enemies.

A must read.
Trust me.
Grahame.
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Nightwriter
THE STIRRED POeT 2009 - joint winner


Joined: 16 Apr 2008
Posts: 254

PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had to read it as it was December's book for my local book group.

I hated it.

Not sure which was the worst aspect - the vapid main character who was supposed to be an English author but read like one of the actual American authors thinly disguised. The spurious romance element she is going out with an absolute cad but is saved by meeting a strong and silent type on Guernsey.

Actually it was all the historical inaccuracies about England in 1946 which made my inner historian rise up and urge me to hurl the book as far away from me as possible e.g the main character going on a UK wide book tour (like they did in 1946 when paper, food, clothes, petrol were still rationed). Rolling Eyes

The parts about Guernsey were well researched and moving but it was too late for me by then.

Sorry Grahame.
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Grahame Jones



Joined: 30 Apr 2008
Posts: 3479
Location: London

PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No need to apologise- I didn’t write it! An interesting response. I take some of your points though: for example, I thought the book tour a bit unlikely too, (also that communication and chains of bookshops were not as now) but it was a useful device to get the main character moving about. “Vapid” I agree, but cannot see this as a problem; it just gives us a character that is an annoying hooray and not necessarily someone you would want to go the pub with. You could say the same about so many fictional characters, e.g. the droves of spoilt brats in say Waugh and Austen.
I still enjoyed the book though!
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DaveyAbram



Joined: 01 Jun 2009
Posts: 167

PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
the droves of spoilt brats in say Waugh and Austen.


Funny you should say that. I started listening to Brideshead Revisited on CD in the hope it would help make my 90-minute commute round the M25 bearable. I lost patience with Sebastian Flyte and Anthony bloody Blanche pretty much straight away.

Replaced it with one of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads collections, which was splendid. Smile
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Missy
Minisaga Mistress & Flashmeister


Joined: 16 Dec 2004
Posts: 2497
Location: London

PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read this recently and thought it was ok. I didn't expect it to be 'literary' just an entertaining little read and it was. I think I bought it in the charity shop so I didn't feel like I'd spent too much money on it!
It did make me want to find out more about the occupation of the Channel Islands which is a good thing. I have been to Jersey and could have spent a very long time in The German Hospital but for a screaming two year old daughter. (Who is now 17.)
It didn't annoy me but it wasn't memorable.
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