Monday, April 12, 2010

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

I'm a sucker for a good title and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer has that in spades. Before I picked up the book, I had a cow in mind rather than the Island of Guernsey which is between France and England.

The story takes place immediately after World War II. A woman writer gets a letter from a man on Guernsey saying that he has a copy of a poetry book with her name and address inside. He tells her one episode that takes place during the German occupation of the Channel Islands in which a small group of people get caught out after curfew. They were on their way home from an illegal pig roast. When she answers his letter with an explanation of how her book may have come into his possession, a friendship begins between her and all the members of the society.

Having spent many hours reading Anne Frank and various books about concentration camps when I was young, this book showed a whole other viewpoint. There were still the difficulties and tragedies one expects during wartime, but I found the bits of humor, the small rebellions, and the strength of friendships to be a refreshing new way of seeing WWII.

By the way, you can find suggestions for the potato peel pie recipe online, but it is never directly given in the book.

When you read this, keep your eye on Elizabeth's story. In my opinion, this is a book not to be missed.


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