Saturday, September 24, 2011

Review: "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Annie Barrows

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie SocietyThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" falls well outside my usual tastes in reading. I only picked up the book because:
1. a friend recommended it to me,
2. I found the name intriguing, and
3. it was available used from our local bookstore.

I don't have my copy anymore - I sent it on to someone else to read, I liked the book so much.

This story follows a female reporter right after World War II who learns about the literary society quite by accident, and uncovers the history of the German occupation of the Channel Islands. I don't know how much the author researched the occupation, but I like the details she added - enough to help the reader feel the horror and sorrow of the island residents, but not so much as to overwhelm the story.

The first two-thirds of the book were written as letters between people, and they do a brilliant job of relaying the story. But then the author, Annie Barrows, died. Her niece took up the rest of the story, finishing the story as a traditional fashion. There is a clear delineation between the two authors, yet I found I had no trouble following the story.

Most of the characters feel rather stock and predictable, not quite three-dimensional. The scenery, again, gives the reader the feeling of being on one of the islands, but is not overly spectacular.

So why did I give the book four stars?

Because of the story itself. Annie Barrows takes the characters and scenery, and weaves a tale that brings the reader in enough to simply enjoy it.

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