Tatiana'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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's review
Aug 19, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: 2011

The words that immediately come to mind when I think of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society are nice, cute and, unfortunately, hokey(ish).

I certainly understand its popularity (#4 most popular book of 2007 on Goodreads!). There is a distinct air of wholesomeness, inoffensiveness about it, plus it is occasionally funny (in a cute, inoffensive way), with a bit of tragic war business thrown in.

But it got tiring for me very quickly. From the moment the main character, Juliet, a young writer, came to Guersney to visit her pen pals, the whole story just got way too cute for my taste. Everyone on the island was so nice, so into doing the right thing, so in love with Juliet, I just couldn't stand it. They were not real people. Even the dark parts of the novel - about the war, occupation, and concentration camps - were sort of glossed over.

The story simply needed more complex characters, more drama, edgier experiences. As is, it is your standard feel-good commercial fiction with no depth.
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Reading Progress

August 19, 2010 – Shelved
January 11, 2011 – Started Reading
January 11, 2011 –
30.0% "Not so bad so far. Well read."
January 14, 2011 – Shelved as: 2011
January 14, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-20 of 20) (20 new)

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message 1: by Hannah (last edited Aug 19, 2010 06:37AM) (new)

Hannah I keep picking this one up and putting it back down. Something about the "letter" format gets to me. Never been much of a fan of that style.

Look forward to reading your review.

Tatiana I know very little about this book, but the letter format is one of my favorite, so we shall see.

Flannery That about sums it up. I remember being in the mood for something cute and harmless and enjoying it--but anyone who is looking for depth will NOT find it here.

I think I 4-starred it because I was so fascinated with Guernsey history and read all about it after finishing. Nerd alert.

Tatiana I do see its appeal, but... Well, you know how it is. I needed more drama!

Morgan F Yeah, I liked it, but I thought it was kind of superficial. But cute, in an old lady kind of way.

message 6: by Hannah (new)

Hannah Based upon what I know of your reading tastes, as well as my own, I'd probably like this. However, I just don't like books written in the "letter" format, so I don't think it will be on my TBR pile for now.

message 7: by Jami (new) - added it

Jami Interesting . . . I liked hearing your take on this novel after reading so many other friends' reviews who loved it. I hadn't made up my mind whether I wanted to read it or not, but it is on my to-read list. What do you think? Is it worth the read?

message 8: by Tatiana (last edited Jan 16, 2011 04:58PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tatiana My approach is - when in doubt, but curious, give it a go. After all, you can always drop it if it's not up to your taste.

So yes, it's worth checking out IMO. A lot of people enjoyed it. You might be one of them.

message 9: by Jami (new) - added it

Jami Good point. I'll probably try it out at some point, but it's not really on my top priority list. I am about to start Saving Francesca, though, and I'm really excited to read another of Melina Marchetta's books -- especially one you rank so highly!

Tatiana Great! Hope I didn't overhype it:)

message 11: by Kat Kennedy (new)

Kat Kennedy My grandma gave me this book to read. Still sittin' on my shelf...

Don't think I'll get around to it any time soon.

Annalisa I thought the characters got annoying too, but nobody I know seemed to think so.

message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

Tatiana wrote: "I know very little about this book, but the letter format is one of my favorite, so we shall see."

T, are you into diary format? I recently read A Brief History of Montmaray and think you'd like it.

Tatiana I very much like diary, letter, etc. format. I'll add your suggestion to my TBR.

message 15: by [deleted user] (last edited Jan 17, 2011 06:16AM) (new)

Great. I really liked it. I heard the second book (it's a trilogy) is even better.

★ Jess I definitely agree with your review! it was nice and cute, though there was very little depth, and I soon tired of the islanders niceness as well.

Olivia My sentiments exactly!

Manleen The letter format is dissatisfying at times, as one tends to lose the plot sometimes. I had to keep turning back the pages in some parts to recall who had said what in which letter of theirs. But overall the stories held my interest and even the small experiences during the Occupation in Guernsey seemed very real and interesting. Juliet's character is a fascinating one and the humor and depth in writings are both relatable.

Janet I think some of the things you mention bothering you are the point of the story. I am not yet done reading it, but I can see the non-sentimental way the people discuss the war might seem unreal. When I talk to elderly people about the depression and WWII, I hear the same. It is a part of their lives, but now over; no need to despair over it any long. Time to get on. I also know that people can be really nice. I live in a very small town; people are polite, helpful, an nice. Young people hold doors for others, folks wave to strangers driving down the street, that stuff.

Junebug388 you get to know these characters through the letters , it is not meant to be direct or complete. The way people looked at things in a matter a fact way is not hokey but the reality of people having to make really important decisions with no access to information. It is very genuine and reminds me a great deal of my mother's memory of this time .... as she was a young adult during the war.

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