Friday, January 14, 2011
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The first time I saw The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society I knew I had to read it. I'm a big fan of BBC America and the British comedies and dramas on PBS. [OK, so I was curious about the pie, too.] The British Channel Islands, of which Guernsey is one, were occupied by the Germans during WWII. Nazi planes bombed key locations on the islands then moved in for five years. I doubt it was that simplistic, but the story skirted many of the really ugly details of the occupation. The book is comprised entirely of correspondence between a young British author, her publisher, her publisher's sister (who is also her best friend) and a slew of fascinating Guernsey residents. The friendly, sometimes earthy banter in the letters makes me wish people still wrote letters to each other -- the kind written on paper with a pen. From the first page I was laughing out loud. Tears and sadness inevitably came because it is about WWII. By the end I felt I knew the characters so well that we could have been friends. Their integrity, loyalty, humor, courage and generosity survived despite five long, hard years being held captive on their own island. Gotta add a trip to Guernsey to my "bucket list". If you've read it, I'd love to hear your take on it.