Thursday, October 21, 2010

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

I kinda like epistolary novels, one's that are written in the form of letters exchanged between the characters. I read a great one once, Fair and Tender Ladies, that I highly recommend. I also recommend this one.

Not many people in England are very aware of the Nazi occupation of the Channel Islands, let alone Americans. But it was the closest Hitler got to conquering the British Isles, and it's still amazing to think how close he came. From 1940 to 1945 the Channel Islands were occupied and fortified by German military forces, and the citizens of the islands were subjected to the same atrocities as other occupied territories.

The authors of this book lovingly spin a tale from letters exchanged between a young author in London and the remains of a small resistance group in Guernsey. They didn't resist overtly, but rather by gathering and finding comfort in each others' company and in their love of books, they were able to survive the war.

I believe that we in the US just can't grasp fully what it was like for Europe during WWI and WWII--we haven't been invaded, had bombs dropped on us on a daily basis, or had to deal with the kind of deprivation that was experienced on the continent and adjacent British Isles. The fact that a potato peel pie could be a delicacy to these starving people (the peels made the crust, the mashed part was the insides) is something I surely hope we never have to face here.

I hope you give this page-turner a try!


A special thanks goes out to my friend Wendy from high school, who suggested this book to me, and my Aunt Patt who seconded her idea! Give me more!

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