The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
I picked up this book almost two months ago, when it was first released. The title was curious but it included the words “literary” and “pie” so that did it for me. Only way to make that title better was to add “Star Wars” to the “Society.”
Turns out it was about much more than books and food. It’s about friendship, courage, resilience and how the love of reading can transport and transform people.
The story begins in 1946 right after WWII when a London writer named Juliet receives a letter from a farmer on Guernsey Island saying he’d found her name in an old used book. He asks her to help track down other books by the same author. He tells her about the book club that was created during the war and how it literally kept him and his neighbors from being killed by German soldiers. Juliet then decides to write a book about these people and when she visits Guernsey (a Channel Island) for further research, her life is dramatically changed.
Though the entire story is told via letters between different characters, each person is incredibly vivid and feels like an old friend by the time you’re done reading. The story is uplifting, heartbreaking, and humorous, sometimes all at once. Even during the tragic patches, the author maintains a tone that stays far from tear-jerking. We feel the hardships the characters endure but we never ever pity them, as we imagine that’s how they’d want it.
This book is now a bestseller as word of mouth has spread. Don’t let all the press deter you from reading it. For once, a book lives up to all its hype and more.
Nerd verdict: Delicious Pie