Thursday, May 7, 2009

Literary Links

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

Initially, I resisted this book because I was turned off by the title. Can't really say why, but something in me thought it would be one of those dorky books about a book club or knitting club. However, a church friend recommended that I read it, and it was an excellent suggestion. This is not classic literature, but it's an engaging story - perfect for curling up with under an afghan on a rainy afternoon (and we have had plenty of those lately!).

This novel is written entirely in letters, which makes it zip along. The characters are eccentric in a likable way. The plot is not all light-hearted, though. We learn about the real British island of Guernsey, and how its occupants suffered during the German occupation of World War II. A small group of the islanders form a book club to help pass the time and occupy their minds during a grim and fearful time. Through that book club, unlikely people become friends and eventually they form an extended family to look after an orphaned child. Guernsey shows us, rather than tells us, the potential that literature has to connect human beings. Also without the authors getting on a soapbox, we see how a diverse and seemingly unconnected group of people can become a family.

Guernsey is funny and in some instances quite thought-provoking. We see a human side of some of the Germans who fought in World War II, and at the same time come to see how war dehumanizes all who participate in it. What struck me most about this story, though, was the pervasive nature of hope. People can rebuild when their lives have been blown apart. Relationships that sustain us can emerge when we least expect them. Love is stronger than hate, and life ultimately prevails over death. Really.

Reverent Reader


At 5/8/09, 11:56 AM , Anonymous nancita said...

have also been resisting this eventhough had a strong recommendation from a trusted friend. will pull it out of the pile and try it.


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