Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wednesday=Book Review Time--Give me a piece of that Pie!

Up for today? Drum roll please! 

THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY 
by Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrows
                 The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by forester401
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.

16 comments:

PJ Hoover said...

Great recommendation! I'll have to check into it. So did you send the niece and email?

lotusgirl said...

At the time I couldn't. I was too shocked and weepy, but I will.

giddymomof6 said...

WOW! That's soo sad! I started writing to my most favoirte author about 4 years ago, and it was through her that she gave me the courage to actually even think that i could write a book. Judith A Lansdowne is so much a part of my life now, that i don't know what I would've done without her. That's so sad, I was so happy when you said you were going to email her. i think all authors need good emails like that.

Lady Glamis said...

What a fantastic review! Thanks for sharing. I will definitely have to check out this book. Maybe you can bring it with you to DC?

How sad that she didn't get to see her book published. That just makes me want to cry. I hope I get to see mine in my lifetime. And yours, too!

Gottawrite Girl said...

Really, really, really? I find it SO hard to pinpoint a book that makes me laugh out loud. This is an INVALUABLE review, and I must check this out... That said, Marley & Me was a book that made me tear, shake and quake with laughter, which I was NOT expecting. Oh, so invaluable!!!!!

lotusgirl said...

giddy, I've now written to Annie Barrows. Being a writer now, I realize that it is such a nice thing to get feedback--especially if it's gushing praise. That's so cool that you are so close with your favorite author.

Glam, I know that's part of why I cried. The other part was that she won't be writing any more great books for me to read.

GWG, Really! I would go so far as to say I guffawed at times. When I say I scared my children, I'm not kidding. I would be reading along and chuckling fairly quietly and then... Boom! Guffaws! Loud ones and shocked children. I rarely ever laugh out loud when I'm reading. My daughter made me read some of the things that made me laugh so hard, and now she wants to read the book too.

beth said...

Thanks so much for the rec. I had never ever heard of the book before, and, to be honest, the cover/title did not really grab me--so if I saw it in the store, I don't know if I would have picked it up. Now, though, I will absolutely seek out and purchase this book!!!

lotusgirl said...

beth. I love books with different kinds of titles. Enjoy reading it!

marmiteandtea said...

oh I loved this book so much but I gave it to my Mum for Christmas and she can't get into it! Sometimes i wonder if we're related :)
It is so sad she never got to see it published and become quite a word of mouth hit!
I popped over from Glam's blog, your name intrigued me :)

lotusgirl said...

Marmiteandtea! You have a fun name too! I plan on giving my Mother a copy of this too. I think she'll love it. I can't imagine someone not getting into it. Don't you just love Glam!

Joe Iriarte said...

That sounds like a great book; I'll keep an eye out for it!

lotusgirl said...

It really is. Thanks for stopping by Joe.

Stephanie Perkins said...

GAH! Everyone is talking about this! Must go put my name on the library's waiting list...

lotusgirl said...

I didn't know I was jumpin' on the bandwagon, but I can sure see why everyone is talking about it. It's a great bandwagon to be on. I particularly think you will like it, Stephanie.

Lioness said...

Didn't I tell you that the five stars were too restrictive? Now I've got you wanting to! ND WHY DIDN'T *I* GET TO PUT PLUSES?! ...jerk...meanybobiniSLOVINI!...

Ahem (calms down) Anyway, I'm going to post Seven Failed Attempts on All the Write Things within the next couple of days, so... BE PREPARED!!!

lotusgirl said...

Yippee!

And you bet I'm the meany bobini slovini! That's my job! Mwahaha!