Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shafer and Annie Barrows

Bad Germans. Good Germans. This account of the German occupation in British Guernsey has them all. Artfully woven vignettes that paint a vivid picture of WWII England and what the Occupation experience was illustrate how goodness is not so much a matter of geography as it is a matter of the heart.

The story is told though written correspondence amongst the different characters in the book and I found the many voices charming. (I kept holding auditions in my mind with various British and Irish actors/actresses for the movie. My cast was great.) : ) Because of this letter-turned-story format, I expected to find the plot disjointed. I was pleasantly surprised that the story flowed along quite nicely. The characters were quirky and endearing and the authors did an amazing job of balancing the heavy and sad things in the story with accounts that were equally uplifting and inspiring.

My one criticism for Guernsey was that it was really easy to put this book down. Because the letters are each only two or three pages long, there were natural breaks in the book all the time. This is fine for someone who is very busy but wants to take a couple minutes each day to read. I, however, like a book that will suck me in and eat away the hours without giving me the slightest hint that I am beginning to petrify on the couch. : ) In spite of the ease with which I could disengage, I still thought the overall message of the book was quite beautiful. The love story was sweet and not completely predictable. Something more substantial to be sure.

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