Book Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (2008)


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, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book. It’s geometrically progressive — all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment.

Cover of "The Guernsey Literary and Potat...

Cover via Amazon


A writer starts corresponding with members of a book discussion group who were living in the Guernsey Islands during the German occupation in World War II and decides to write a book about their experiences.

A very light read. The experiences of the Guernsey Islanders during the occupation are much glossed over, too much so to satisfy my interests. Even the horrors of war are not given much gravitas. Of course, there is a sweet little romance, as there always is in these books. There is no recipe for potato peel pie, though, which seems almost criminal. I was entertained by this book, but I would not expect it to have a profound effect on me. It’s a good vacation read.

This book is an epistolary novel, written in letters. I usually find this form, as well as the similar diary fiction, a bit tiresome to read, unless it is done very well, as it seems to put some distance between the reader and the characters and events of the novel. The author died the same year the book was published; since her health deteriorated so rapidly during the rewriting phase, her niece, a children’s author, finished the book and was listed as co-author.

If you liked this book, you would probably also like: Water for Elephants by Sara GruenThe Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

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2 Responses to “Book Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (2008)”

  1. The ‘like’ is for your review, not the book. The thing is, your review has convinced to to not read this book in spite of the three stars you’ve given it.
    All the things that are missing from the book would be the things I’d be looking for–including the damn recipe–that lack is indeed criminal, I wonder if some uncreative book editor kicked it out?. Anyway, based on what you’ve said I guess the only reasons to read this are because one, it’s LIGHT and two, it has a sweet little romance in it. Hmmm. No thank you. There are better books to read. I like some weight and substance–along the ines of liking milk straight from the cow as opposed to 2% blah.
    Honestly, the author’s demise sounds more interesting a read.


  2. All good reasons to skip it, and I’m glad my review helped you come to that decision. I read it at the beach, which seemed to suit it.

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