Stephen Gallup'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
Nov 03, 2016

it was amazing

Prior to starting this, I had misgivings about a novel consisting solely of letters and telegrams among various people, and I also worried that having two authors would be a drawback to the quality (it usually is). Oh, and the title seemed too cute. All those doubts were quickly laid to rest. This is a delightful story, and it gets better as it goes along. The form in which it's told is just right. My understanding is that the second author, Mary Ann Shaffer, stepped in when her aunt experienced health problems, and her contribution was to enhance the cohesion of the different characters' stories. The title? Well, now that I understand, the title is just fine.

The cohesion comes in the form of a much-loved individual who departed the scene before the events of the story begin, but who continues to have an effect both on those who knew her and who didn't. A friend says that suggests the Book of Acts, a comparison never would have occurred to me. I'm not sure it's very compelling, but will ponder it further.

These missives make me nostalgic for the days when people actually wrote letters, on paper, taking time to address their correspondent's points one by one and being rather clever along the way. I always appreciated the occasional letter that included wit and thoughtfulness. In this story, the gems are more than occasional. I smiled over well-turned phrases like:

"My worries travel about my head on their well-worn path."

"It's two in the morning, I have not a fingernail to my name."

"Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books." [how true!]

"I'm not certain that my scruples could withstand the sight of handmade shoes. If I ever meet him, I'll take care not to look at his feet--or I'll lash myself to a flagpole first and then peek, like Odysseus."

The anecdote about Oscar Wilde that occurs near the end is just delightful. And the ending itself is truly lovely. That's the best word for it.

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Reading Progress

October 20, 2016 – Shelved
October 20, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
Started Reading
October 31, 2016 – Finished Reading

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