The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Last Christmas, I got a gift certificate to the mall from a friend. I decided it might as well be spent on a good book from Chapters. I had no idea what book I wanted, so I walked in and asked for recommendations. My only hard and fast rule was that it be unabridged. If I can avoid abridged audiobooks, I do. So the woman said I should read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. the what? with the who? What’s a potato peel pie? That sounds positively disgusting. And why is a cow going to a book club meeting? She told me no no, it was about people who lived on the island of Guernsey. I still inwardly wondered what cows had to do with this. Yes,I’m dumb.

I bought the book, the lady in the bookstore said she had read it and liked it a lot. But it took me 8 months to actually start reading the thing. It was 7 CD’s worth of letters written back and forth between folks. How could that possibly be good? Boy was I ever wrong.

I don’t know what it is about the main character, but you fall in love with her almost instantly. And then through sheer chance, a man finds her name in a used book of hers, and somehow writes to her to tell her how much he loved that book. And so it begins. She finds out that a group of folks from the island suddenly had to build a literary society during the German occupation of their island in World War II. This fascinates her, and she ends up asking them all to share their stories of the German occupation. the resulting stories make you want to hug each and every story-teller, and highlight things you already knew from a historical perspective, but the accounts put an individual face on each thing that makes it all the more human.

I really think it’s a good idea that people are writing books about World War II, the holocaust, the concentration camps, and all that. We need to have things written down to counteract the work of all the holocaust-deniers out there. There will come a time when there will be no living survivors left, and we need the evidence to live on so one day, we aren’t left vulnerable to be convinced that maybe the holocaust didn’t happen.

What depressing thoughts. I’m sorry. but read the book. It’s a good one. I read the entire 7 CD’s in less than 2 days if that tells you anything.

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