I’ve recently been reading two very different books, the first, which I’ll cover in another post is The Corner, a no holds barred study of the drug problem in America’s inner city. The second, which I want to review here, The Guernsey Literary and Potato peel Pie Society, is basically a romantic comedy centered around a little community in the Guernsey Islands in 1946, immediately after world war 2.
The Novel takes the form of a series off letters between Juliette Ashton,a writer looking for new subjects following the end of the war, her publisher, and the members of the Guernsey literary and potato peel society. This unusually named society was formed one night during the war, as an excuse when a few of the Guernsey locals were caught out after curfew by the occupying Germans. However, after the first meetings of the society which were conducted purely for appearances, it became a source of genuine enjoyment and learning through the tragedies and trials of the harsh war years.
Juliette is so fascinated by the accounts of the society members that she decides to write a book about their experiences and ends up going to visit Guernsey to meet her new friends and finalise the research for her book.
The main attraction off the book is the quirky characters Juliette gets to know in Guernsey. There is also a minor exploration of how the Guernsey locals coped with the German occupation and there is the romantic sub-plot of who Juliette will end up marrying.
From a Christian point of view, the characters in the novel are stereotyped in a disappointing way. The only serious Christian is by far the most horrible character in the book – much worse than the Germans. Juliette herself is fashionably skeptical, and the homosexual and witch characters are completely wise and generous. It’s a good reminder of some of the preconceptions we have to overcome when engaging with the average western unbeliever.
Overall the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was an enjoyable but non- challenging read. If you enjoy Alexander McCall-Smith, then you’ll probably enjoy this.