Sunday, August 14, 2011

Kelly's Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society



The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

By Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Published by: Random House Audio

First Printing: July, 2008

ISBN-13: 9780739368435

Amazon; Barnes and Noble; Goodreads

Concept: “January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she'd never met, a native of Guernsey, the British island once occupied by the Nazis. He'd come across her name on the flyleaf of a secondhand volume by Charles Lamb. Perhaps she could tell him where he might find more books by this author." "As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, she is drawn into the world of this man and his friends, all members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a unique book club formed in a unique, spur-of-the-moment way: as an alibi to protect its members from arrest by the Germans." "Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the Society's charming, deeply human members, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all. Through their letters she learns about their island, their taste in books, and the powerful, transformative impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds there will change her forever." Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Vie Society is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.” [From Goodreads.]

Review: I first noticed this book in Barnes and Noble one day many years ago. I thought it was an interesting title and in fact, it was interesting enough to make me pick it up and glance at it. I think I almost bought it and had to put it down in order to purchase another book. Fast forward a few years, and several of my friends have read and recommended this book to me but I always left it in the back of my priority list because it just didn’t seem very exciting to me. Fast forward again and one of my favorite friends on Goodreads recommended the book to me but in audio form. I was really intrigued with the idea of listening to an audio book and I asked what the best audio book was. In response, my friend urged me to get the audio of this book and to listen to it. Fast forward again to just a few weeks ago and lo and behold, I found it at my library and due to the wonders of having a Nook (not a Kindle, but a Nook, because if I had a Kindle, I wouldn’t be able to write this) I was able to download and listen to Guernsey in like 10 minutes time and that was only because I had to install some software that I didn’t already have installed. So that’s how I came to listen to this book rather than read it.

Also, before I get into my review, in preparation to write it, as I always do, I read other reviewers opinions. I was completely shocked to see that there were quite a few negative reviews on this book. I tell you, I was shocked. Most of the reviews I read cited a poor and unbelievable plot. So I will address those complaints in my review rather than go over why this is such an amazing book.

Listening to this book was a real treat. It was almost like watching a play. The artists that read their parts were delightful and I find myself speaking with a British accent even though I am a Valley Girl. The artists took me away to this time period and I could smell the salt air and hear the seagulls. You know why? Because I have an imagination and that’s what this author asked you to do. Just to relax and enjoy and use your imagination and go somewhere FUN for a change. Quit reading about vampire teenagers and hard ass chick paranormal slayers. If you do, if you can take the stick out of your ass and just ENJOY something for once, you will be pleased and rewarded. I didn’t just like this. I LOVED it. It is well worth the purchase of an audio version which is what I will be doing because this is something I will want to listen to again and again and again. I don’t think I’d ever want to read it though because it was just so perfect on audio.

Thank you to my friend Jennifer for recommending such a delightful and wonderful piece of journalistic joy.

What I liked: I loved, no, I ADORED the little bits of humor thrown in here and there that made me seriously stop and laugh. Real belly laughs. This is a love story of sorts and yet my favorite part about the book wasn’t the love story, but the people around the love story.

What I disliked: I dislike that these people aren’t real. I want to go and visit them and have a cup of tea and exchange recipes and books and some genuine life shares.

My rating: 5 feathers




Kelly
for Book Lover's Hideaway

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3 comments:

Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

I read this book and enjoyed it. But I've heard that it is a more enjoyable experience to listen to it. I wouldn't know but that's what I heard. I like that you addressed the negatives from other reviews.

Moonlight Gleam said...

Awesome review! I really like the concept, I look forward to reading this!!! Thank you for sharing and for stopping by! Happy reading!

As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

Couldn't agree with your more. On my review of this book I said that you'll be sad when it ends, knowing that you've come to love characters that you'd wish you could call friends. Haven't done the audio, but I don't mind "re-reading" on audio, so perhaps I'll look into it since you say it's so good.

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