Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Sunday Book: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Possibly my longest post title? Also, possibly the first book that I have featured here that could be described as 'chick lit'. Yes, the term is frustrating and arguably destructive but sometimes shorthands can be useful. Basically, this probably isn't one for the chaps. Blah blah blah, gender stereotyping, I know, I know, I am up to my eyeballs in 'gender' at the moment but still, I know plenty of girls that I would recommend this book to and not a single boy off the top of my head. The (fairly minimal) historical detail piqued my interest and I now want to learn more about the German occupation of the Channel Islands in the Second World War but this little novel is predominantly about the romance. And we're talking small 'r', modern misinterpretation romance - the warm and smushy, heart-melting kind.

By the way, none of this is a criticism, I really enjoyed The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It has all the hallmarks of a nice read - funny, gutsy heroine; quaint historical details; strong, silent hero; quirky minor characters; love, misunderstandings, reconciliation, happy ending. All good stuff even if 'nice', 'gutsy', 'quaint' and 'quirky' don't normally feature highly in my critical repartee. It is gloriously straightforward and childhood reading habits (A Little Love Song and When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit were BIG favourites) mean I struggle to resist a WW2 setting. It was a lovely and very brief distraction from current academic pressures - not so many of the warm and fuzzies there and it took me three, maybe four hours to read. It is very light. Because it is epistolary lots of space is wasted with tos/froms, dates, addresses etc. and there just isn't very much content. Luckily though, the letters aren't annoying! Personal bugbear - I HATE epistolary novels. Thank god Austen dropped the letters from the original draft of P&P!

Re-reading this I know I sound like a bit of a snob. I don't mean to be. I just mean to convey that this a lovely, enjoyable, slightly insubstantial way to while away a couple of hours. Don't expect - to come out knowing much more about Guernsey or its occupation. Do expect - a nice bit of atmosphere, the odd giggle, that joyous hit of romantic adrenalin at the end. If that sounds like your cup of tea (and I would highly recommend reading this with a large mug of tea) then knock yourself out! I'm sure you'll like it.

Chuck x


  1. My mum read that last year and the title had me intrigued straight away- one to read on hols then! (I also loved When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit) xx

  2. such an interesting title! ive never heard of this book but i think i'll def check it out :)

  3. Hmm I've never heard of it but maybe I should check it out!
    Have a great day!

  4. OMG I LOVED A Little Love Song and When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit when I was younger, have been contemplating this book for a while now but think I may just have to give in and buy it now!
    Much Love
    Roisin Elizabeth