Emma Kaufmann's Reviews > The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
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Sep 08, 08

Read in September, 2008

Once again I find myself reading ten pages of a book which is meant to be 'great' and wondering why it is just rubbish. I was meant to read this for a book club but it was about as palatable as a potato peel pie so I spat it out uneaten.

Now, I'm sure there are American authors who can write in an authentic British voice (no one springs to mind, and Elizabeth George is terrible at it but at least her plot is not clunky) but Mary Ann Shaffer isn't one of them.

This book has an epistolary plot that just goes clunk clunk clunk.

Firstly, it is set in London in 1946 where we meet a fairly posh author who, rather than using the polite and rather stilted language that people used in 1946 sounds like Sex in the City circa 2008.

I mean, come on, Mary Ann, have you ever even read a letter from 1946?

So, you have letters flying around in 1946 which sound like they were written sixty years later. How are you meant to get into this?

Then of course, a man in Guernsey writes to this author woman, says he has found a book with her name and address written on the flyleaf, there are currently no books in Guernsey, can she procure him some from London? Of course the lady author sends this poor man in Guernsey some books and writes him long letters. As if.

Note to Americans: posh English authors in 1946 would not have been quite this effusive to a person who wasn't even a fan of her books.

Obviously this clunky device is meant to start a stupid story going about this guy in Guernsey telling her all about his experiences when the Nazi's invaded Guernsey. Save me. All about as authentic as a Hallmark movie about the Nazis.

This book reminded me of the children's American Girl series which take periods in history, and have a girl heroine who gives a personal and hightly sanitized view of American history, but does a fairly good job seeing as the audience for these books is 6 to 10 year olds. But this book is meant to be for adults. Save me. This is WWII lite.

Take this quote:

"I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.”

Or maybe someone bought it in a bookshop and took it to Guernsey?

This sums up the tone of this tome. Twee beyond endurance.
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 98) (98 new)


Michele "I mean, come on, Mary Ann, have you ever even read a letter from 1946?"

Unfortunately, the author cannot answer herself since she passed away before publication.

But I think we can safely assume, since she lived through WWII, that yes, she had read letters from that time period and I would venture to say even wrote a few of her own.


Emma  Kaufmann Michele...not sure if you are trying to defend the author. Actually I think she was born in 1934 in USA which makes it all the more unbelievable that she had no idea what style of language people used in the UK in 1946. I can't be lenient on the author just because she is dead! Did you like the book?


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Emma,
I loved this book. I bet you read "Harry Potter" and think that JK Rowling (HACK) is a great author. LOL


message 4: by Carla (new)

Carla Mcdonald My first visit to this site, and my, the comments on this particular letter are amazing. I loved the book, I also love Harry Potter, Charles Lamb, Michael Connelly. Reading overrides all snobbery - there is no right or wrong - we all like and dislike with impunity. Lighten up.


Kristi Taylor Amen to the last comment. I can't stand it when people are so damned defensive. I did love the book but I can also see where Emma is coming from.


message 6: by Emma (last edited Nov 07, 2008 10:57AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Emma  Kaufmann @Robert
What makes you think I have read Harry Potter? I haven't nor have any interest in doing so. I think my criticism of the Potato Peel book is pretty valid. If you're going to try to write in a certain period please do some research to make it sound like 'English woman from the 1940s' rather than 'American woman from 2007'. Well the author's dead, but that's what I'd tell her!


message 7: by Jen (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jen I think if you had read the entire book before making your criticism, you'd see why people are getting defensive. First of all, she wasn't a "posh" author...she wrote humorous columns for a newspaper during a war. Have you ever done research of english writers during wartime? I have, and it's not always highbrow. Her character is actually one of the many people who were "lower" than the formal speakers you make note of.

Secondly, while I thought it was a little too quirky for the books' own good at the beginning, once I actually gave in, it was one of the greatest stories ever. Something about the resilience of the Guernsey folks and the childlike curiosity of the columnist really hit home for me.

By not reading the entire novel, you didn't get to feel the growth of the letter-writers and the far reach of politics that underlies the frivolity of the initial letters. It's actually a nicely subversive book in some ways. To each his or her own, but because your criticism is based on the first few pages, you should be prepared for people to disagree with you.


message 8: by Emma (last edited Nov 10, 2008 07:39AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Emma  Kaufmann @Jen
Life's far too short to read a hammy author like that! I didn't read it because it was dreadful and ten pages was enough. Doesn't matter if the author was higher or lower class she didn't sound in any way English. I have read plenty of letters by English people during the forties and they sound nothing like this stuff in the book.

Who says I care if people disagree with me? Disagree with me all you like. But you won't convince me that this author has an ounce of talent. If you can't write a good first few pages you are not a good author.


message 9: by Carla (new)

Carla Mcdonald Oh, Emma, what snobby responses! This is not the very best book I have ever read, but it is far from the very worst. I've never felt the need to comment on any book that I stopped after a few pages, but I have also picked up a discarded book and tried it again, and found something that interested me and taught me something I didn't know. The plight of the Guernsey Islands is part of our history - and worth learning about. And, the first page about the Vermin Exterminators carrying "Down With Beatrix Potter" signs is one of the funniest things I've read in a long time. Read everything you can, like it or not like it, but reading ten pages is not enough to judge a book. And certainly not enough to comment on it!


Michele I think it's more about this disturbing trend wherein people feel the need to snottily rip apart a book with no respect whatsoever for the work and creativity the author put into it.

It goes without saying that we all have different literary tastes...what I love, another reader may not. And there's nothing wrong with that. Diversity in reading should be celebrated!

But there are better ways to express why a book didn't work for you. Constructive criticism will always be more respected by fellow readers than a horrid, ripping insult-fest that accomplishes nothing. It's been my observation that those who write these kind of "reviews" (they aren't a true review, but for lack of a better word at the moment) are simply seeking attention -- the old negative-attention-is-better-than-none thing.

Whatever. The only effect is has on me is that I don't respect any of that person's other "reviews" and won't even read them.

But for those who write constructive reviews out there....keep it up! I love reading your thoughts!


message 11: by Emma (last edited Nov 10, 2008 09:23AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Emma  Kaufmann @carla
I know all about the plight of the Guernsey Islands without reading this book. Ten pages is certainly enough to judge a book. I just get sad when there are so many bad books out there.

@Michele
I'm not being snobby at all. The author didn't do her research so I fail to take on board the criticism about me having no respect whatsoever for the 'work and creativity' the 'author' put into it. She wasn't even really an author, I believe she was a bookseller who had a go at writing this? And everyone's first novel is best left in their top drawer like this one should have been. Maybe she would have improved with time who knows.

You don't seriously expect me to respect an author just because she happens to have been published do you? I would say at least 50% of books currently published are mediocre to atrocious.





Michele Just because you don't care for a particular novel, doesn't mean that everyone else should be deprived of their work as well. Nor does it mean that you need to take low swipes at it. Believe it or not, there are more constructive ways to critique a book. I've read quite a few critiques of this book that in essence cover your points, but without being so snotty.

You, of course, have the right to critique in the manner you choose, but if you're going to put it out there in a public forum, you'd better be prepared for dissension.

And clearly no one is asking you to respect an author just because they are published. It wouldn't hurt you, however, to have a little respect for the work (good or bad) an author put into it.

I'm almost curious (but not quite) exactly what your definition of an author is, Emma. If she was a bookseller before she wrote a book, clearly in your view this disqualifies her. Does one have to write from birth to be considered an author? (Nevermind, you don't have to answer that.)

Regardless, judging by sales and other reviews, there are millions of readers who are very happy that this novel wasn't left in a top drawer somewhere. I also suspect the publisher is quite glad of it, as well.

Happy reading, Emma. I do hope you find something more to your liking in the future!



message 13: by Carla (new)

Carla Mcdonald Emma, I'm think like Michelle, I was going to ask you what your favorite books are, and if you are a published author, but somehow found that I don't really care.
There are so many books, and so many readers.
Everyone should have the right to decide on their own if they like a book or not. I am glad that I read the book before reading your comments, and hope that most people will give it a chance.
It's not a life-changer, but it is a good read, and certainly well worth the effort. And, if you review any more books, I'll be sure to try them!



message 14: by Desiree (new) - added it

Desiree Dearest Emma,

I am one of the many plebs that found this book delightful and laughed out loud from the beginning.
You're terribly lucky to be so knowledgeable about letters, social customs and the like from 1947 as clearly this then makes it possible to make generalisations about the education, manners and responses of people from that time. I was unaware that formal manners and one's class sapped all uniqueness; and that despite the fortitude, humour and kindness required to survive the war - still enabled people to be put into neat boxes thus. Frankly, if I were an author to whom you're referring at that time - I might be somewhat miffed.
I digress. I would concede that - Yes perhaps an American should not write as English person (do you out of interest write American characters in your works?), and there are characterisations that may lack imagination or depth, but for me (an ex-pat of nearly two years now) it meant that I simply felt I had met them before - and could then get on with the business of being their friend and delighting in their company.
There are too many lines to mention in this lovely tale that have made me laugh out loud and brightened a considerably dull convalescence.
I hope that you find equal enjoyment in more worthy novels.
Regards
Desiree

Ps. A rhetorical question really but I wondered perhaps if you live somewhat inland and not near a body of water?






La Petite Américaine People on this website are starting to get on my nerves. Emma didn't like the book, and she gave her (very valid) reasons for her dislike. And you come on here saying that the poor author is dead, so she should be appreciated? Cop out! And then call Emma's taste in books in to question, so you can somehow pat yourselves on the back by judging her personal taste as possibly different than yours -- although you know that already, she didn't like this book and you did -- and write her off as a know-nothing for not liking a mass market paperback? Please.

I didn't like this book either, I thought it was pointless, boring, and sucky. And Emma didn't even have to finish the book to come to that conclusion.


message 16: by K (new) - rated it 2 stars

K This was an interesting discussion, and I couldn't resist putting in my 2 cents in Emma's defense. For me, part of the fun of being on goodreads is reading scathing reviews that are written with a sense of humor like Emma's. If I want humorless, detached, politically correct reviews that focus exclusively on constructive criticism, I can read a hoity-toity publication like "The Atlantic" or "The New Yorker" (whose reviewers also occasionally stoop to using devices like -- gasp -- cynical humor and sarcasm). I like goodreads because of the wide range of reviews and their frankness. I enjoy these reviews even when I disagree (sometimes, especially when I disagree). I don't see why people feel compelled to defend a book in such a personal way, or to attack a reviewer for writing a critical review. Hope I don't get attacked now!


La Petite Américaine Oh wait, she didn't like the book, what a snob. Pshaw. Please.

Ten points to Khaya. Oh, and Khaya, if you send me your address in a message, I'll send you my copy of the book.



Emma  Kaufmann @michele

I have found many books I like. You just need to read my book reviews.




La Petite Américaine You should check out my "sucked" shelf. I have lots more books that I liked than disliked, but my "sucked" reviews are the most passionate. :-D


Michelle Whether its Emma or anyone else, it is pure arrogance to assert that anybody can make a FAIR review of a book after ten pages. By all means, write a review after ten pages but would it be credible....NOT AT ALL. To my mind, it would be like walking into the foyer of Disneyland and deciding you dont like Disneyland. Or getting off a bus in a new city, looking up and down the street and deciding you dont like the city.
I dont think there would be many 'Good Readers' out there who would take the advice of a person who's read ten pages of a book seriously.
Happy days to all from Australia...



message 21: by K (last edited Jan 12, 2009 09:25PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

K I think your point is interesting, Michelle, and it can certainly be argued that it's unfair to write a review after only 10 pages. I have reviewed books I haven't finished, though, with scathing comments about why I felt they weren't worth finishing. I'm curious what the actual fair limit would be -- 50 pages? 100 pages? But in any case, my position on this is that a goodreads reviewer, who has no responsibility to an editor or to a paying audience of subscribers/readers, can write their review after any number of pages and can be as snarky as they want to be. Readers of the review can then decide whether or not to take that review seriously, given the reviewer's limited encounter with the book. It's interesting, though, that if the criticism is that Emma's review shouldn't be taken seriously since she only read 10 pages, that readers are reacting so intensely and so personally to her opinion, which, in the final analysis, she's entitled to express.


Michelle Indeed, reviewers may be as scathing or snarky as they like and should be true to their feelings...that argument has been discussed to death on this post. We all know that. I simply suggest that if I was wanting to read a review about a particular book, I wouldnt consider the review of a person who had read ten pages of a book to be a worthy review as opposed to other reviewees who had read the book in its entirety. My view is as plain and simple as that. Much respect to you and thanks for your feedback!





message 23: by Charity (last edited Jan 22, 2009 11:09AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Charity Seriously. Why do people feel the need to come out of the woodwork to bash the people who dare criticize their favorite book (du jour)?

So, she only read 10 pages. Big deal! I have a friend that gives up on any book that makes her roll her eyes three times. Does that make her less qualified to give a review of her reading experience? Does it have to be a book report to have merit?

Why does it matter to ANY of you if she liked the book...10 pages or otherwise?

Sometimes sloppy beginnings can be worse than weak endings or sagging middles. At least with the latter, you've had a good reading experience leading up to that point...something that kept you reading it. When you have a sloppy and/or weak beginning, there is really nothing compelling you to read on (and you may just be finishing the book just to finish it). Not everyone has the same reading experience with a book.

However, every time I turn around, I see people on this site getting bent out of shape because someone writes a critical review of a book they love (especially with regard to popular fiction). What I don't see very often is people who hated a book attacking those who loved it. Are we required to love every book, or at the very least, have lukewarm feelings about every book to keep from being attacked via the comment box?

I seem to be only echoing Khaya's sentiments (which I found to be right on!), so I'll leave with this...

Emma-

I found your review to be very helpful, as well as your comments. I personally have felt no real draw to this book. Interesting that you used the phrase "Hallmark movie" because that's the image that pops into my head when I read about this book. Not that I don't read sentimental pap that is just itching to be on the Hallmark Channel. I do...plenty of it. I'm not a book snob by any stretch of the imagination. I just feel that life is too short and there are too many books out there to waste your time on the one's that don't float your boat. I believe that was your point...


La Petite Américaine It's kinda like when you start out reading Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Christ, from the title alone you know it's going to be long-winded and complicated. After the first paragraph, you wonder what the hell you've gotten yourself into, and by page ten, you can definitely form an opinion and wonder why the hell you were assigned the book.

Charity, lol to the Hallmark channel. Frickin hilarious. :)


message 25: by ScottK (last edited Jan 22, 2009 04:19PM) (new)

ScottK Emma write what you feel as long as you want , your review was passionate not snobby in anyway and for those who thought it was , perhaps that is just a pot meeting a kettle and calling it black. One does not have to be highbrow or uppity either to enjoy a book or to hate one either. I caught a bunch of flack because I HATED Dr. Norrell and Mr Strange or whatever it was called. Some people just like to be vocal without really having an informed opinion.Take the good with the bad . On this site you have to.


message 26: by Kirsty (new) - added it

Kirsty Emma, I have to echo a number of people's comments to say that a review is what YOU think of a book. Sometimes people on this site fail to understand that. I would assume you are an avid reader (otherwise you wouldn't be here and you wouldn't be writing reviews), and so I would also assume that you wouldn't give up on a book lightly, especially after just 10 pages. Therefore who can say to you that your opinion isn't valid?

The review facility is here for people to express their opinions on a book, whether those opinions are good or bad. As long as you are speaking from your own experience of the book, it is all valid. I would ignore the people who attack you for not liking something. How you review something, and what you put into that review are choices personal to you - nobody should be trying to stop you.



Denis Yes, I had to read the entire book for my book club and I feel the same as Emma. It's clunky. The voice is wrong and the novel finishes with a "happily ever after" feel that's too unreal.

By the way, I got off of a bus in Buffalo once, looked up and down the street and decided right there that I didn't like the city.



Heather steff you should have given the book more than 10 pages. it was a tad dry at first, yet was a true worthwhile read. i wonder how many other great books you have dismissed because you don't have the patience to invest yourself into a book further than 10 pages.


La Petite Américaine God damn, these people are tiresome ... it's to the point that it's stressful.


message 30: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth I've just put the book down - somehow I struggled through to the end, trying to discover why it has been so praised and so popular. To me it is nothing more than a Mills and Boon romance novel - I've never read one, but I imagine there is some research involved even at that level. There is research in this one too, but it is just so clunky, and a lot of research does not make a good book...a really bad read!! And I have no idea why it has been so lauded.



Kerrie Lighten up. It's a fictional account that tries to tell a charming and at rare moments profound story. Learn to suspend your disbelief or stick to reading the obituaries if accuracy is such a staunch requirement for your reading material.


Jorgina I have not read the "Potato Pie" book and was looking for comments to decide whether to read or not to read. Your negative comment on the book was unique to all the positive reviews. So, I looked at your "read list" and can now understand why you disliked this book. Your list is full of books not widely read which seems to say you like reality, non-fiction, and original modern lit. I also noted that you have read relationship books about being dumped, bad men etc. Your melancholy tendencies are showing through your reading choices. Maybe a good- feel, happy book would never be considered "great" by yourself no matter how well it is written. This is one of my idiosyncrasies; philosophy of character. Kindly correct me if I am wrong.


message 33: by Pattie (last edited Mar 31, 2009 07:00AM) (new)

Pattie Yikes. Remind me not to ever write anything negative about a feel-good book, for fear of being eviscerated and having my book reviews psychoanalyzed on Good Reads.

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who wasn't bowled over by it.

As for being ablt to review a book after ten pages, I have a policy where I put a book down forever upon the first mention of a brand of women's shoe. One mention of "Jimmy Choo" or "Manolos" and it's over. I don't care if it's the first page - back to the library it goes (doesn't apply here, obviously, but still - the point is that you CAN make a judgement after a few pages).


Margaret Heavens, think how boring it would be if we all liked the same books! Our differences keep the writers writing and, hopefully, the publishers publishing.

This is a good discussion. Personally I liked "Guernsey" quite a lot. I love to have my history served up in readable doses, but I am curious: I read someone's comment (not here) that it is too bad the author didn't use "Guernsey names." What names would have been more appropriate choices, can anyone tell me?

Note to Khaya: Someone in our book group recently suggested that before abandoning a book, a reader should read a total of the number of pages of the book minus his/her age -- which, as we are all rather long in years, usually meant not very many pages at all!








Susan I found this book started slow but am I ever glad I didn't quit after only 10 pages. I'm sorry that you missed out on the rest of the book as it had parts where I literally chuckled out loud or was brought to tears.


message 36: by Eva (new) - added it

Eva Leger I really can't believe people are so immature to take it personal when someone doesn't like a book that they loved. Get a life.
How about trying to be adult about the issue and TALK about it? Find out WHAT exactly she didn't like, tell her WHAT exactly you DID like, and agree to disagree if it comes to that? How hard is that? I thought this site was mainly full of adults but I can't tell sometimes. You people should be ashamed of yourselves. I wonder how many of you are raising children. *shudder*
I haven't read the book yet- just got it actually- but I think I will like it from what I know of it so far. But even if I love it I wouldn't make someone who hated it out to be a snob or stupid or any of the number of things you people imply.
I'm so glad that Emma stuck to her guns and didn't apologize for her thoughts to the likes of people like you.


message 37: by [deleted user] (new)

Michele wrote: ""I mean, come on, Mary Ann, have you ever even read a letter from 1946?"

What are you talking about? This is one of the best books I have ever read and I am a librarian so I have read many many. Any time I learn something I didn't know, I consider it a worthwhile read but I love this form of letters between people. What did you think of 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff or are you old enough to know who she was? You didn't change my mind about the book but made me that much more Pro Ms Shaffer and Barrows.




message 38: by [deleted user] (new)

Charity wrote: "Seriously. Why do people feel the need to come out of the woodwork to bash the people who dare criticize their favorite book (du jour)?

I didn't choose the book because I thought it would be a HALLMARK variety but because I liked the title.
The reserves have been over 150 at any one time and that said something to me. The other thing was that each character discusses and recommends authors and books. What's not to like about that? Ok so I am a librarian and LOVE finding books and authors new to me. You don't HAVE to like what others like. I am just surprised in this case. Oh and I don't know what the language was of that day so didn't pay attention. The mention of shoes was rather off but....

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society



message 39: by Eva (new) - added it

Eva Leger There are reserves at my library and on swapping sites that you would never guess so that really doesn't say anything.
Why are you, and the rest, uptight because this woman didn't like this book? I doubt even the author of a book would take it as personal as some of you are. I find this incredible. Do you people actually look for the negative reviews of books you love? Pick up a book YOU love and go read- you'll be much happier and stress free I would think! LMAO


message 40: by [deleted user] (new)

Emma, the author was THERE in the Guernsey Islands.She did her research. So what if she didn't speak in the language of the times. I only pay attention to that when I don't like the book anyway.
The author was sick, very sick when she finally got down to write it. She had done her research earlier.
I learned a whole lot from it. I am sorry that you didn't. I am only finding a few bad reviews of it- and they are here at this site. Go figure.

..."

Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows


Laurin I didn't think I was going to like this book, either (I found it really dry), so I returned it to the library with only about 20 pages read.

Then recently someone in the Audiobooks group on Goodreads mentioned that this was the best book she had EVER listened to as an audiobook. Hearing that, I promptly checked out the audiobooks version of the book. It was fantastic! This is the kind of audiobook that makes me not care if I get stuck in traffic while listening to it! There is a full emsemble cast reading the letters, telegraphs, etc. They really create a vivid picture of all the characters and breathe life into the story.


message 42: by [deleted user] (new)

I have a question, if Eva's review is not considered bashing, then why is that us disagreeing with her is considered bashing her (you).


message 43: by Eva (last edited May 17, 2010 08:33AM) (new) - added it

Eva Leger First of all, Eva didn't leave a review for this book as Eva hasn't read it as of this moment.
Second of all, a review is what this site is about- it's a book reviewing site among other things. It is NOT, however, a site where it is looked pleasantly upon to jump on others who don't agree with you.
Grow up. Get a life.
I hope you, and anyone else who enjoys spending their time making sure everyone knows that anyone who disagrees with them is wrong, have a very bad day. :)
Now- you have two choices and we all know, scratch that- some of us know which one you'll make. 1. You can go on and enjoy your day and NOT think about me (because you can bet money I won't be thinking about you! LOL_
Or
2. You can write comments back to me, the person who left this review, anyone else who doesn't agree with your thoughts on books, etc. and spend your time likewise.
It'll probably be the latter but hey, what can we do right?
As for me, this got boring very fast and as a last thought- grow up and be a damn adult.
Wildjean- your question above just might be the most stupid question I've heard all year. A review, whether you agree with it or not, is not bashing. I won't see it, but if you care to explain for the others how that's possible feel free. Are you 10 years old? Even a review calling a book every garbage name out there isn't "bashing" in the sense you're trying to use. A review is a review. Get a clue. I can't even believe someone typed something so absolutely STUPID.


message 44: by [deleted user] (new)

♡ Eva ♡ wrote: "First of all, Eva didn't leave a review for this book as Eva hasn't read it as of this moment.
What I don't understand is why you and others are saying that we are bashing YOU. Just because I don't take on your review doesn't mean I am bashing you.
When someone writes a review without reading the whole book, what can I say? I might not read a whole book but then I don't review it either. I figure that is my preference not to read it but I am not going to suggest that it is not worth reading either.




Altomom I have read many books that I could not finish, but I would never knock the book based on what I had read. I think a book cannot be judged until it is "eaten" in its entirety, otherwise you really don't know what you are talking about. At first I thought this book was a contrived piece of fluff, but I had so many people recommending it that I persevered. I loved it! It may not be "great literature", but it is a heck of a story, and the use of letters made it all the more fresh. I totally disagree with Emma's take on language of the 1940's. First of all, people are supposed to be writing letters here. Also, the 40's is rife with all kinds of slang words, and FAR from stuffy, shared between the Americans and the British while our troops were stationed there. Ask any veteran or war bride!


Barbara I'm reading this book right now and can't wait to finish it to see how it ends. I'm loving it. Since i have a great-uncle and aunt who moved to Guernsey during the war and lived there till they died (which was in the last 10 years). They told me lots of stories about the war and that's why I can say that the stories and the sentiments in the book are genuine. The fact that it is written in letters instead of chapters is quite refreshing and makes the book all the more enjoyable to read.
I have just one question for Emma though: if a book is situated in Bavaria in the 9th century ad should the book then be written in mediaval German so no one understands it or should it be written in modern day english so the whole world can read it?


Allison Whew, volatile room. I guess I sort of like that people are passionately defending or engaging literature. Less comfortable with the conviction that you would all be hair-pulling and bitch-slapping each other in a second were we all to meet face to face. It's possible that the "come on Mary Ann, have you ever read a letter from 1946" comment was a tad snotty. I can certainly see where the 'appallingly twee' criticism comes in, although I happen to disagree. Sort of. Or maybe I was just in the mood for something twee that night. Anyway, the review was harsh, particularly on the basis of ten pages' reading, but sometimes that's just how ten pages makes you feel. I would also tend to say the writing was not to my taste rather than that the author was objectively not good, but I'm far past the point where I care whether somebody thinks liking a book makes me unintelligent or undiscriminating (okay, maybe not that far). Have you tried to read the freaking Magic Tree House books to your kids? Sentence fragments. Bad grammar. That, folks, is bad writing. Plus the letter about the mail room boy getting drunk and throwing out all the letters addressed to people whose names started with S made me snort -- snort, verily! -- with laughter.

I suggest everyone have some ice cream and take a breath.


message 48: by Janene (new)

Janene After all that....Emma's review still stands. That in and of itself is to be respected. Good for you, Emma.

Many may not agree w/my reviews...but they're honest and how *I* am feeling about the book. I really don't expect nor care to agree with (you) or you to agree with me. We're all different. I'm going to be true to myself. Just like Emma.


message 49: by Janene (new)

Janene ...and after reading Emma's review...I still added the book to my to-read list.


message 50: by Kris (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kris Had I judged Michael Chabon's Pulitzer Prize winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay in the first 10 pages (or even the first 100, for that matter) I would have missed out...Sometimes, it takes time to "get" a book. In my opinion,...Potato Peel Pie Society was worth "getting," but then we are all certainly entitled to our own opinions.


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