Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Review

“I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” 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’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb…

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

My Thoughts…

This was a book that my mom had been begging me to read for years. She knew I’d love it and that I liked stories told in different styles (i.e. letters, file notes, texts, etc), but I didn’t read it until now. Unfortunately my mom passed in August 2016 so I never got to chat with her about this book. I must admit, she was right, I did enjoy this book a lot. This is a special review in that I listened to the audiobook and then watched the Netflix movie. So, not only will I share my feelings on the book, but also how I feel the movie compares. 

First, I must tell you that I’ve never been much a fan of books set during/right after WWII. Honestly, I think the reason I did like this book so much initially was because there wasn’t a lot of WWII in this book. There were references and a few sections about the concentration camps, but otherwise it was a different story. After reading the book, I almost with there had been a bit more of the story between Elizabeth and Christian (maybe in the form of letter or a journal). That’s just me though. 

Juliet was a likable character. She seemed to start off pretty naive but I as the book went on her letters and her decision making showed a lot of character growth. Her relationship with Markham was absolutely absurd, he in no way seemed like a match for her in any way. Her relationship with Isola was absolutely phenomenal. They both completed parts of each other that seemed to be missing. Isola admits she never really had any friends and she’s never been in love, and Juliet seems like her only friend was Sydney, so I feel like they complimented each other in the best ways possible. 

I must say, I think one of my favorite characters of the whole book was Mrs. Maugery. I absolutely loved the way she spoke, how she viewed her small family within the society and her protectiveness over Kit. It was absolutely beautiful. 

Originally I rated the book a 3 star; however, after watching the movie, I am forced to change my rating of the book to 4 stars. 

The movie was good… it served its purpose to bring these great characters to life, but that’s about it. The hack job they had to do to the book to make it fit the allotted time for the movie did it a huge disservice. The movie omitted huge chunks of the book, changed the speed and way things happened, and I feel as though it changed the overall tone of the movie. If someone who had not read the book watched the movie I would say that they would absolutely love it. But, as per usual the book was far better than the movie. The one strong aspect the movie had going for it was the casting. The actors that are portraying the character from the book did a wonderful job of bringing them to life and making them real for me. 

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