"Step back! We have a winner!" Joey Tribbiani's words (however out of context they may be here) never ran truer. I struck gold with this book. When I finished reading it, I could not help thanking God for my mad browsing habit, if I hadn't browsed quite like mad the other day, I would have never stumbled upon this book, would have never fallen in love with the book's title then and there.
Books on WWII never fail to attract me and the more different, the better. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society scores perfect points in this department. Written in epistolary form entirely, TGLAPPPS takes you on a delightful journey to Guernsey Island in the Channel as the silent and invisible guest of Juliet Ashton. Juliet Ashton is a writer living in post-war London; Juliet Ashton like millions of women survived the war; Juliet Ashton will never be able to forget it for as long as she lives, it will shadow her all the days of her life. Juliet Ashton of post-war London is utterly and unquestionably adorable.
Through Juliet, we come to love the brother-sister duo of Sidney and Sophia, we meet and befriend the lovely people of Guernsey, learn about their lives, make friends with Kit, hear stories about Elizabeth McKenna and finally settle down in Guernsey for the rest of our lives. Nobody who has taken this extraordinary journey with Juliet can blame us either, for they will be wandering around the tiny island themselves. You might even meet them for tea at one of the society members' houses.
TGLAPPPS is one of those rare books that completely satisfies the reader. This is a book for the bedside table as the reader will often want to read a letter here or a letter there; such is the quality of this book. Books based on the war have made me weep, cringe in horror, laugh even (with catch 22). But I have always wondered what it must have been like to live the war, to live through it and come out with the ability to smile; what it must have been like for the person next door: the writer, the pig farmer, the squire's wife, the hippy. This book has taught me that; through Juliet and her friends I have lived in 1946 and faced the immediate aftermath of the war, have watched them pick up the threads of their lives; through their memories, I have faced occupation, bombed houses, deceased friends, witnessed extraordinary strength of character, have learnt that not all Germans living in Nazi Germany were "bad".
Buy it, borrow it, please don't steal it but read it, you MUST read it. I can guarantee that you will love it, you will come away with fond memories, know exactly how Guernsey looks at sunset, know how delightfully peaceful it might be to be a pig farmer, how heady it must be to a writer.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society is a collection of fondly written letters among true kindred souls. Once you have read it, keep it at your bedside, read one or two letters now and then, fondly, like revisiting an old friend and then go to sleep with visions of potato peel pie floating in your head.