Bucket'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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Ultimately this book is a lot too predictable, a little too smooth, and a lot too tied up in a little red bow at the end. That said, it's just so freaking charming that I still want to give it three stars. The authors do include many tragedies of world war two in intense and graphic detail, they include the realistic reactions and interactions of people during that time. But in the end all is smoothed over and basically forgotten.

There is even a moment in the story when the main character, Juliet, feels great sorrow and disgust with herself for having expected a woman, Remy, who was in Ravensbruck concentration camp to be over the past and moving on - this is a poignant moment. But then the novel itself does the same thing (forgets the past and moves on, conveniently sending poor Remy back to France where she belongs) without regret or sorrow.

What charmed me though is the focus on reading and it's role in survival and joy. Much of the book is about how the accidental creation of a reading society got the people of Guernsey through many horrors and brought them together as neighbors.

In a larger sense, the book succeeds in being about survival itself. Theodor Adorno wrote that there is no poetry after Auschwitz. This book whole-heartedly disagrees. I suspect though, that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Survival is joyous and possible, but it does take its haunting toll. The book lost sight of that truth in the end.

The ending also made use of one of the most annoying plot devices of all time: two people who love each other don't speak to each other amidst super annoying and obvious sexual tension.

Great quotations:

"That's what I love about reading. One tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you onto another book..."

"Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books."

"The bright day is done, and we are for the dark."

"On the page I'm perfectly charming, but that's just a trick I learned. It has nothing to do with me."

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Reading Progress

12/11/2014 marked as: read

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