THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY
by Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Why I bought it? Well, technically I didn't. My husband got it for me for Christmas (bless his heart), but I did request it. I had been looking on line to find some interesting reads to put on my wishlist, and, on Amazon, I pulled up a list of the best books of 2008. The title struck me as funny. I read a little about it, and it peaked my interest. On my wishlist!
Synopsis: In 1946, Juliet Ashton, an author looking for something to write about, is inspired by a letter she receives from someone in Guernsey, one of the channel islands, to look into the Nazi occupation there during the war. She decides to write an article about it and starts researching. She asks that people send her letters telling their stories. The letters are so rich that she has to travel there and meet the people and ends up making it into a book. It's told completely in letters.
What I thought? If you've been following my blog at all lately you know I loved this book. Not just the little "loved" but the big, fat, knock down, drag out, jump up and down, like a 13 year old girl listening to David Archuleta! screaming in capital letters, with ten exclamation points! LOVED! this book. It now ranks up there with my ALL TIME favorite books! It's smart and profound and witty. At the beginning, I was charmed. By page 10, I was laughing out loud and thoroughly hooked. I could tell that my house was going to suffer. Every other page I was chuckling, weeping, or howling with laughter. I even scared my kids a couple of times with my outbursts.
A friend said that not everyone will necessarily like my selection, and I know that. I can't imagine how anyone wouldn't be swept up and carried away by this story, but I suppose it's possible. Everyone has different tastes. That's why so far I have not been able to bring myself to read anyone else's review of this book. So now you have my complete and unadulterated gushing. I think men will like it too--you men out there.
I do have to share this one little tidbit. When I was finished reading, I was so excited that I decided to send a letter to the authors. I sat down at my computer and searched them up. They have a lovely site. Through reading things on their website, I realized that the main author, Mary Ann Shaffer, has passed away. Annie Barrows is her niece, she came in at the end of the project when her aunt became too sick to finish and tidied things up for publishing. Well, I just sat there looking at my computer screen and balled like a baby. She never got to see her book on the shelves. She did know it was being published, but she never saw the final product. She'd never write another book.
I have contemplated the capacity of a my current 5 star rating system to handle my enjoyment of this read, but after railing last week about my daughter flaunting the conventions of the 5 stars, I can't let myself do the same, but if I could... Curse you! Restrictive 5 stars! Curse you! Being an adult about things and not simply throwing out convention!
My rating: *****+++++ (I can at least add pluses.)
CS: 6 out of 10--There is a bit of language, not the F word, but a sprinkling of the others. There are a few adult situational things, and there is some recounting of the horrors of war. It's not for your little ones. I plan on letting my 14 year old daughter read it. I wouldn't go much younger than that though.
Enjoy! And if you read it, let me know what you thought.