A Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Juliet, our protagonist, is a British journalist that has documented the happenings of the war in Britain through a weekly column in a newspaper. When the war is over, Juliet is commissioned by her friend, and publisher, to release a novel of her pieces as a complete work. Meanwhile, the island of Guernsey is finally released from the firm grip German forces had while occupying their land for five previous years. Guernsey citizens, receiving no word from England or continental Europe for a full five years, are eager to learn about the war outside of their own landscape. Through letters (and by way of a shared loved of poetry), Juliet comes to befriend the souls on the island, forming tight bonds and lasting relationships.
The novel, at times a bit gimmicky due to the nature of the letters, deals with topics that are often hard to stomach, balancing sadness with compassion, emphasizing the characters’ ability to move past the disturbing events they've been forced to endure. The novel displays a nation ready to move on and start anew. Specifically, in contrast to the inhumane crimes committed during the war, the author stresses the benevolent acts that individuals, living in Guernsey and other parts of damaged Europe, did for one another to survive. I feel this novel makes an effort exploring the extreme nature of the human condition.
Furthermore, Juliet’s love for the written language and literature was so wonderful to see printed.
Overall, it’s a great read for individuals that enjoy a light, historical/romantic fiction novel. Sure, it’s a bit predictable, but it’s also a story that will leave you feeling good. The length at which humans will go to reach out, help and nourish one another was brilliantly displayed throughout the novel. I was smiling and laughing out loud. And sometimes you really need that in your life.